CA regulators sue to recover costs for Exide lead cleanup, but community groups and environmentalists still want justice

Years after pledging to recover cleanup costs from those responsible for spreading lead pollution over thousands of homes in southeast Los Angeles County, California regulators have finally filed suit against multiple companies connected to the closed Exide Technologies battery recycling plant in Vernon.

The action notably excludes Exide, which under a recently approved bankruptcy plan was allowed to walk away from the half-demolished hazardous site and stick California taxpayers with much of the cleanup bill.

That angered community groups and environmentalists in the largely working-class Latino neighborhoods surrounding the plant, who reacted tepidly this week to news of the lawsuit, asking why it took so long and what it would change on the ground. More than six years into the cleanup effort, thousands of homes and other properties across a massive cleanup zone remain riddled with unsafe levels of brain-damaging lead while families wait for the state to remove contaminated soil.

“Anything that can help recover money and put it toward the cleanup is needed, but it feels like too little too late because the real responsible parties are already off the hook,” said Idalmis Vaquero, a member of the group Communities for a Better Environment who lives in a Boyle Heights apartment complex that has not yet had its soil cleaned.

Read the full story at LATimes.com.

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