Battery recycler and repeat emitter-of-dangerous-pollution Exide Technologies is finally getting shut down in Vernon, agreeing to a mindboggling deal with the US attorney that means they'll have to admit that they illegally stored and transported hazardous materials in exchange for ... a total reprieve from any criminal charges for doing it. According to the LA Times, the Get Out of Jail Free card is only being offered in exchange for Exide shuttering the 15-acre Vernon plant, razing it, and cleaning up after themselves.
Keeping things clean is not really Exide's strong suit; in fact it's the main part of their problem. Exide was found responsible for elevated levels of arsenic and lead in the air and ground around nearby Boyle Heights a year ago; they've been skating on thin ice for about a decade, though, operating on a temporary permit while they continue to pump lead and arsenic into the air.
Exide made an agreement with California regulators last year to "set aside $38.6 million for closure and cleanup of the facility" and to put $9 million into a trust fund that would pay for cleanup of soil at local homes that contaminated by their shoddy practices. The company is still expected to make those payments despite this new development.
· Exide battery recycler to close under agreement with U.S. attorney [LAT]
· Vernon Polluters Exide Tech Given Millionth Chance to Clean Up [Curbed LA]
· Vernon Battery Recycler Now Poisoning Nearby Soil and Air [Curbed LA]