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DTSC to Hold ‘Casual’ Conversation About Exide

The California Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) will meet Friday in Boyle Heights with a group of residents, elected officials and community members who have been very vocal about their outrage over toxic emissions from the Exide plant in Vernon that have increased the local cancer risk and the possibility of neurological deficits in children.

People living in the nearby communities of Boyle Heights, Maywood and Huntington Park have called for the plant to be permanently shuttered.

Some of the most vocal stakeholders have been invited to attend Friday’s session, according to DTSC’s Public Participation Specialist Stacey Laer.

She said the meeting would be a “casual” conversation with participants “from all walks of life,” including elected officials, environmental activists and residents.

“We want to continue the dialogue and we plan on hosting future invitations for the surrounding communities,” said Laer.

The informal session will help DTSC filter out what information residents still need to understand what’s happening at Exide and what the agency is doing. It will also give the agency an opportunity to plug information gaps for the general public, Laer told EGP.

Stakeholders are expected to also discuss the free blood test that will be available to thousands of residents from an area that includes Boyle Heights, Maywood, Huntington Park and Vernon.

Although this session will not be open to the public, DTSC does plan to hold meetings in the future with the other impacted communities, according to Laer.

The structure and feedback from this week’s “sharing session” will help the agency figure out how to conduct future sessions, she added.

The session will consist of agenda items that were submitted by stakeholders and will include a discussion about the ongoing legal battle between the agency and Exide, which is fighting to remain open despite calls for its shut down.