After thousands of homes in southeastern Los Angeles were contaminated with toxic lead dust from the Exide Technologies battery recycling plant, the state government responded with what it called the largest environmental cleanup operation in California’s history. Five years later, leaders and local residents accuse environmental authorities of foot-dragging, inefficiency and dubious contracts in soil clean-up efforts. Amid public pressure, the legislature ordered extensive auditing and reforms to hold the agency accountable. But activists from the polluted area have dismissed the measures and are asking for neighbors to be given more control through a local clean-up agency. Rubén Tapia prepared this report in Los Angeles. This is a collaboration of Radio Bilingüe with the Center for Health Journalism at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.
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