Los Angeles, CA — Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Janice Hahn reacted to recently released findings that show a cleanup of residential areas near the former Exide battery recycling plant by the state’s Department of Toxic Substances Control failed to reduce the amount of lead in soil to levels deemed safe. Hahn attended a community meeting held Monday evening by East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice where residents received information on the status of the cleanup and shared their own experiences.
“I first want to thank East Yard for holding yesterday’s community meeting, this press conference, and most importantly for never letting this issue drift out of our attention.
“I also want to thank the research teams at USC and Occidental College. Your commitment to the truth, along with the collaboration of the LA Times has shed light on a wrong that must be made right.
“It’s our duty as elected leaders to meet the moment where others have failed. The greed of Exide leadership and the decision to turn their backs on these communities led to what can only be described as an environmental and public health disaster. Now, a flawed cleanup process by the state’s Department of Toxic Substances Control has added salt to a deep wound.
“Home is meant to be our safest space. To the residents whose homes remain contaminated with unacceptable levels of toxic substances: I’m angry too. This cleanup has failed to meet the standards that keep your families safe.
“I attended last night’s community meeting here along with several members of my staff. We witnessed firsthand that frustration that so many residents expressed. We hear it, we share it, and we’re committed to taking action. At our next meeting on February 28, the Board of Supervisors will vote on a motion I introduced along with my colleague Supervisor Solis to call on DTSC to meet their responsibilities and provide a full and effective cleanup.
“We can’t undo the actions of others that led us here, but I’m committed to doing everything in my power to get this cleanup back on track.”
During a Tuesday morning press conference held by East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice, Hahn’s office delivered the following remarks in Spanish to affected residents:
“To the residents who have been impacted by this disaster, I share your anger and indignation. You’re now experiencing an injustice born out of greed, thanks to a company that got rich and then turned their backs. Today you experience another injustice, thanks to an inadequate cleanup process that continues to expose the health of your families to an unacceptable risk.
“Yesterday I attended the community meeting and I witnessed the feelings expressed by these communities. I want to make it clear that we hear you, and that I am committed to doing everything possible within my power to take the necessary steps. When it comes to the health and wellbeing of your families, the challenges ahead will not impede our efforts to produce the solutions that you’ve waited for for so long.”