LA County Supports Gov. Newsom’s Proposed $74.5 Million Directed for Exide Cleanup

On January 10, Governor Gavin Newsom released his first Proposed Budget for FY 2019-20, which includes $74.5 million dollars to help address the cleanup of the communities contaminated by the Exide battery recycling plant in the City of Vernon. In response, today the Board of Supervisors approved a motion authored by Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis that thanks Governor Newsom for his support of communities impacted by Exide and asks the State Legislature to support the Governor’s proposal to approve these additional resources for the Exide cleanup.

“I am pleased and thankful that the Governor’s proposed budget includes this investment to help accelerate the cleanup of homes impacted by Exide contamination,” said Supervisor Solis. “For nearly 40 years, families harmed by lead contamination from the Exide plant have suffered in silence. Early last month, I sent a letter to then-Governor-elect Newsom asking him to address this environmental injustice and provide much needed funding in his proposed budget. With this proposed budget, the cries of our residents were heard by their Governor.”

For decades, Exide spewed lead, arsenic, benzene and other environmental toxins into the air over Vernon and surrounding cities, all while operating on a temporary permit issued by the Department of Toxic Substances Control, the state environmental regulatory agency.

The Governor’s FY 19-20 Proposed Budget includes a loan of $50.0 million in State General Funds to accelerate the cleanup of approximately 700 additional properties with the highest lead contamination levels and greatest potential for exposure within a 1.7-mile radius of the facility. Additionally, Gov. Newsom proposed a loan of $24.5 million, to be available through June 30, 2021, to cover the increased cost of cleanup for the 2,500 properties initially identified. This proposal reflects a revision to DTSC’s initial 2016 estimate for the Exide residential cleanup project that did not anticipate certain cleanup-related activities and increases in contractor costs (such as a quality assurance sampling contractor, sample storage, project labor agreement, and performance and payment bonds).

“Thank you, Governor Newsom, for prioritizing environmental justice and our communities,” continued Supervisor Solis. “I look forward to continuing to work with you on initiatives that promote the health and well-being of all LA County residents.”

Today’s action directs LA County’s Chief Executive Office to send a five-signature letter to Governor Newsom to thank him for his support of communities impacted by Exide contamination. LA County will also send a five-signature letter to the LA County delegation to the State Assembly and State Senate, as well as the Chairs of the Assembly and Senate Budget Committees, sharing LA County’s strong support of the Exide cleanup funds included in Governor Newsom’s Proposed Budget.