Sunday, May 27 , 2018, 8:20 am | Fair 59º


Letter to the Editor: Now It’s the Exide Scandal

Exposure of even more corruption by Gov. Jerry Brown's environmental “oversight” agencies has been documented this past week with publication of the deal the federal government has made with Exide Technologies.

To avoid criminal prosecution by the U.S. attorney's office for decades of polluting and poisoning the area — and possibly the people — of Vernon, Calif., where its plant exists, Exide has agreed to “permanently close the … facility, demolish it and clean up the pollution. Exide also had to commit to pay nearly $50 million to clean up the site and and surrounding communities while admitting to an array of felony violations.

“But some state officials and community groups say that after watching decades of lackluster environmental enforcement by California regulators, they have serious doubts about whether the agreement will ensure that Exide doesn't walk away from it mess before its fully cleaned up” (Los Angeles Times, March 13).

Apart from one's opinion as to whether criminal charges should be brought to bear on companies such as Exide, guilty of decades of creating and distributing dangerous environmental materials, the following is the real kicker:

“The Department of Toxic Substances Control had allowed the facility to operate for decades without a full permit, even as it racked up dozens of hazardous waste violations.”

Fortunately, the editors of the L.A. Times are not totally obtuse:

“How Did Exide Happen? … How was a company allowed to operate for so long [30 years] with so many violations that endangered so many people? … California may have some of the most protective environmental laws in the nation, but they are meaningless if not enforced.”

So now we have another example, in an almost endless series, of Gov. Brown's failures faithfully to execute the state's and the federal government's laws. His public proclamations are one thing; his actual corrupt complicity with the environmental and health atrocities of oil/gas and other energy providers is another.

“Miguel Dominquez … a 10-year resident of the neighborhood: … 'I'm happy that they're closing the plant,' he said in Spanish, 'but in reality it's not just the plant who should be held accountable, but those who let them operate for so long.'”

No kidding!

William Smithers
Santa Barbara

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