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Governor Brown Pledges $176 Million To Cleanup Of Lead From Exide Plant

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Governor Jerry Brown has announced a $176 million plan to clean up lead contamination from the Exide battery recycling plant in Vernon.

Brown made the announcement on Tuesday, proposing to inject more funding into the ongoing cleanup and testing in the neighborhood surrounding the Exide Technologies plant. According to a release from the governor's office, the funding "will ensure all residential properties, schools, daycare centers and parks within the 1.7 mile radius of the Exide Technologies facility are tested and contaminated soil removed where lead levels are the highest and potential exposure the greatest."

"With this funding plan, we’re opening a new chapter that will help protect the community and hold Exide responsible," said Governor Brown in the statement.

Brown previously pledged only $8.5 million into the cleanup, reports the L.A. Times, fueling criticism that the state had been too slow to respond to the environmental crisis.

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The Exide plant opened in 1922 and was finally shut down in March of 2015 after cutting a deal with federal prosecutors that the company would cover the cost of the cleanup. The factory previously melted the lead from used car batteries to recycle them for new ones. The governor's proposal says they will hold Exide and "other potential responsible parties" accountable for the costs.

According to the Times, up to 10,000 homes are estimated to be contaminated with lead from the plant's fallout.