Less than two weeks after authorities found soil contaminated with elevated levels of lead at homes and a school near the Vernon battery recycling plant run by known polluter Exide Technologies, the operation has been shut down. JUST KIDDING! Instead, it has received its millionth chance to clean up its act, says the LA Times. For some reason, the *South Coast Air Quality Management District gave the green light to plans for $5-million-worth of upgrades to the Vernon facility, even though its executive director voiced strong doubts about "Exide's 'ability and/or desire' to comply with emission rules designed to protect public health," citing the ever-growing list of air quality violations that the company has accrued in just the last few months. (The company was first found to be exposing people to potentially cancer-causing amounts of toxic chemicals a year ago, though.) And that's all aside from the fact that it's been operating on a temporary permit for decades. The executive director added that he believes Exide is merely saying what it's supposed to say (we care about the environment! we care about public health!) in press releases to mollify the general public while simultaneously doing some behind-the-scenes spending to try and find loopholes and workarounds on air quality regulations. That these major "misgivings" had no effect on the approval of the company's plans is pretty damn mindboggling.
· Air quality district OKs Exide's plan — with misgivings [LAT]