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Letters to the Editor: Exide is getting away with polluting minority neighborhoods. That’s unconscionable

Exide
Protesters gather outside Exide’s plant in Vernon in 2013, demanding its immediate shutdown.
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: As a retired principal who worked at two elementary schools in neighborhoods affected by the toxic waste from Exide Technologies’ battery recycling plant in Vernon, I am appalled at the positions taken by the Trump administration and the ruling by U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Christopher Sontchi. Now, Exide can walk away from its closed plant and leave the massive cleanup to California taxpayers.

If this toxic waste were found under the properties of the Delaware bankruptcy court, the Justice Department or the Environmental Protection Agency, these Exide defenders would not have been so cavalier in deciding whether to lay the cleanup responsibilities on the federal government.

To rule that exposure to dangerous elements like lead do not qualify as an imminent danger, especially to young children, is so incredibly ill-conceived that if it were not so dangerous, it would be laughable. This is just another case of total disregard and unequal treatment of people who live in communities of color.

Betty Morin, Monterey Park

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To the editor: This ruling by the Delaware bankruptcy court is both obscene and offensive and provides yet another example that our system of law is broken.

Imagine what the people most affected by this ruling must think about their government and the rule of law that enables these outrageous decisions. No wonder people have such disdain for their president, members of Congress and the judges that let the rich get away with this behavior.

This cannot stand.

Robert Culpepper, Torrance

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To the editor: The bankruptcy judge’s decision to stick the taxpayers with the cleanup costs sets a bad precedent and is a slap in the face to the neighborhood and taxpayers. This putrid mess would have never been allowed in Beverly Hills, Rancho Cucamonga or even Delaware.

Perhaps Sontchi would be interested in moving there and seeing for himself how exposure to a dangerous element like lead that builds up in the body over time “somehow qualifies as imminent danger when everywhere you go in your life you’re exposed to lead.”

His reasoning? “We all have lead in our bodies. That’s reality.” Does the judge have a medical degree?

Susan De Antonio, Rancho Cucamonga

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To the editor: The Exide battery recycling plant in Vernon for years fouled the surrounding area with brain-damaging lead, cancer-causing arsenic and other pollutants.

In articles I’ve read about the push to get everyone into electric cars, especially in California, the problem of what to do with all the used up batteries never seems to be mentioned.

I would call that Stage One thinking.

Nora Pouliot, Redondo Beach


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