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Statement by EPA Regional Administrator Martha Guzman on California’s request regarding Exide and Superfund

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SAN FRANCISCO – EPA Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest Martha Guzman issued the following statement today regarding California’s request that U.S. EPA list the Former Exide Facility and surrounding industrial and residential areas on the Superfund National Priorities List.

Statement from Regional Administrator Guzman:

EPA remains committed to protecting human health and the environment by reducing lead exposure, especially for children and communities with significant environmental justice concerns. Our agency continues to prioritize environmental justice for marginalized and overburdened communities across the nation and the creation of a more visible difference in the environmental and public health outcomes for all people. Our collaborations with the communities we serve, our governmental partners and interested stakeholders are key to achieving this.

As part of this commitment, on October 28, 2021, EPA released for public comment the draft Strategy to Reduce Lead Exposures and Disparities in U.S. Communities. The draft Strategy lays out Agency and governmentwide approaches to reduce exposures to lead sources, address legacy lead contamination for communities with the greatest exposures and seek to eliminate disparities in lead exposure along racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic lines.

The Governor of the State of California has now requested U.S. EPA to add the Former Exide Facility and surrounding industrial and residential areas to the National Priorities List of Superfund sites. Following the State’s decision, our agency will now implement a rulemaking process to propose this Superfund listing, in accordance with the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). The addition of Exide to the Superfund list would provide access to federal funding for the cleanup and enable the EPA to begin identifying responsible parties to fund remediation.

Earlier this year, Congress passed President Biden’s Infrastructure Law, which provided $1.5 billion to revitalize brownfields across the U.S. President Biden has also proposed $11.8 billion and over 16,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) employee hours in the 2022-23 budget to battle climate change, protect human health and the environment, and boost environmental justice initiatives. This includes nearly $455 million for the Superfund remedial program.

EPA and DTSC have already made a significant investment working with the surrounding impacted communities, local and federal officials, and public health officials by ordering the Exide facility to close, implementing the investigation and cleaning up of the facility, including 3,746 surrounding residential properties and overseeing the decontamination and deconstruction of the two remaining buildings of the lead battery processing and smelting operations at the facility. While we move through the Superfund listing proposal process, EPA will continue to support DTSC’s implementation of the Closure Plan and cleanup work in the community. For many years our two agencies have worked together at a variety of sites, and we look forward to our roles as co-regulators continuing.

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Author: Region 08

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