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Hearing set on Vernon battery recycler accused of unsafe emission

Plant OpeningsExide Technologies

A hearing board for the South Coast Air Quality Management District is set to hold the first of several hearings Saturday on its petition to shut down a Vernon battery recycler accused of endangering hundreds of thousands of people from unsafe arsenic and lead emissions.

In October, the air district asked an independent administrative law panel for an order to halt lead smelting operations at Exide Technologies "until its air pollution control systems are improved and deemed adequate" to control toxic emissions.

The air district claims the plant, which has become the focus of community ire in recent months, has been unable to control gaseous pollutants.

Exide, one of the world’s largest recyclers of lead-acid batteries, was cited several times this year, including twice in September when air monitors near the plant showed it had exceeded permissible levels of lead.

Exide officials have said they intend to “vigorously” contest the petition.

"The company will prove to the hearing board that it operates its Vernon plant safely and responsibly, and works diligently to protect the health and safety of both the community and its workforce of 130 people," the company said in a statement released  this fall.

Under air district rules, the hearing board will hold several hearings before making a decision.

Saturday’s will be at Cal State Los Angeles from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; attorneys for both the air district and Exide will present their cases and then members of the public will be able to give testimony.

To facilitate community participation, the air district plans to run free shuttle buses starting at 8 a.m. and continuing every hour to and from four locations in Boyle Heights, Huntington Park and the City of Commerce to the Golden Eagle Building at Cal State L.A.

Shuttle buses will leave from Hollenbeck Middle School at 2510 E. 6th St. and Maravilla Community Center at 4919 Cesar Chavez Ave. in Los Angeles, from Salt Lake Recreation Center at 3401 E. Florence Ave. in Huntington Park and from Commerce City Hall at 2535 Commerce Way in the City of Commerce.

 

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