Some of the toughest environmental laws in the country are not being enforced by state and local officials in California -- that’s the conclusion of an independent report saying the Department of Toxic Substances Control lacks even a system for denying or revoking the permits of companies found to be threatening human health. We’ll hear what that means to workers and residents near the city of Vernon, outraged because the Exide lead-battery recycling plant has been allowed to stay open despite evidence of widespread contamination.Banner image: Paul Garland
FROM THIS EPISODE
At an angry meeting last night in Boyle Heights, elected legislators expressed outrage over what residents and workers say they’ve known for a long time: they and their children have been exposed to cancer-causing, toxic materials, while state and local regulators have failed to enforce tough laws on the environment.
It’s all about the Exide lead-battery recycling plant in the city of Vernon, which reportedly has emitted lead, arsenic and other cancer-causing substances into the air and water. Exide’s own inspection video shows leaks in pipes sometimes used for wastewater.
But on Monday, Director of the State Department of Toxic Substance Control Debbie Raphael’s department announced a deal with Exide to let it stay open despite its record of violations.
Walls that grow food, movable rooms and walkways that can heat your home are just a few of the hi-tech designs on display right now at the City of Irvine’s Solar Decathalon. It’s a contest to showcase ideas for solar-powered houses sponsored by the Department of Energy—the first time it’s been held outside of Washington. Producer Frances Anderton, host of KCRW’s program 'DnA: Design & Architecture,' reports.
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Then and Now: Is LA Still the Car Capital of the World? Urban planners got some bad news today. Ridership on public transit in Southern California is on the decline, despite the billions being spent in recent years to build light rail and subway lines. Why aren't more drivers leaving their cars at home, as traffic gets more congested than ever? Meantime, there's a shortage of money to repair aging roads, bridges and other parts of the infrastructure. We look at the impact on the state's economy.
Does California Have a Double Standard for the Public's Protection? Porter Ranch and Vernon are mirror images of each other. In one, schools have been closed and thousands of residents are being moved away by the polluter—just months after a natural gas leak was discovered. In the other, residents complained for years about health risks to school children from exposure to lead and arsenic from a battery recycling plant— until the federal government finally stepped in.
Is 'Warfare' a Thing of the Past at the LAPD? Video of police misconduct wasn’t as common 25 years ago as it is today. The spectacle of LAPD officers beating Rodney King was a wake-up call, but didn’t persuade a jury in Simi Valley. When the cops received not-guilty verdicts, the city exploded. We hear from veteran officers who say they’ve changed. What about their tactics? Have they gained the trust of marginalized communities and people of color?
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