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Proposed permit law on Vernon battery recycler passes state Senate

Proposed permit law on Vernon battery recycler passes state Senate
Protesters rally last October outside of Exide Technologies in Vernon. (Christina House / For the Times)

A proposed law requiring a Vernon battery recycler to get a final permit to operate by 2015 or shut down was approved Thursday morning by the California Senate.

The bill by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Long Beach) targets Exide Technologies, one of the world's largest makers and recyclers of lead-acid batteries. The Exide plant's emissions of lead and arsenic are accused of posing a health danger to hundreds of thousands living in southeast Los Angeles County.

The recycler, which began operating in the 1920s and was bought by Exide in 2000, has never received a full permit as required by federal law. Instead, the company has been operating on a temporary permit the entire time.

Lara's bill requires the state to make sure all hazardous-waste facilities operating under such permits get final approval to operate by the end of next year or shut down. Exide is currently the only such facility without a full permit.

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Company officials could not be reached for comment, but have previously said they are committed to public health and to meeting California's environmental standards.

Twitter: @latimesjessicag

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