Jul 31, 2017
California officials announced a plan to remove lead from 2,500 properties around a battery recycling plant near Los Angeles.
Yes, clean it up, by all means – given how poisonous lead is. But at the same time, residents of the area will not be impressed, to say the least – nor anybody who knows the history of pollution caused by the Exide plant that shut down more than two years ago.
No, residents are very angry at the authorities, and rightfully so. The authorities knew about the contamination for a long, long time. They had been citing the plant for pollution since the 1980s, but allowing it to operate – and to continue to pollute – all the same!
And sure enough, every time authorities tested soil or residents’ blood, they found alarming levels of lead too. But they have been sitting on their hands all this time, giving excuses and making promises – while people were dying, and children were growing up with the poison that hampers their development.
The authorities, at local, state and federal levels not only didn’t bring criminal charges against Exide; they allowed Exide to declare bankruptcy and escape financial responsibility too.
Who can believe authorities’ promises anymore? They are accomplices to Exide and previous owners of the plant, the capitalists who poisoned generations of people in the name of profit.
If they were going to do anything, they’d have done it decades ago. There is only one force the working-class residents of the area can count on: their own, collective and organized force.