A $2 ‘tax’ could be levied on every new lead-acid battery to help the pay for the cost of the cleanup of lead-polluted soil in California.
Manufacturers and customers buying lead-acid car batteries will have to pay $1 each under legislation sent to Governor Jerry Brown— who is set to make a decision on September 30th.
The proposal outlines initial five year plan, thereafter the customer would shoulder the full $2 fee, if the act is passed.
The funds would be earmarked for cleaning up lead-contaminated soil, including that around communities near the former Exide’s Vernon battery plant in Los Angeles County.
The legislation by Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) is expected to raise up to $40 million a year for use by the
Department of Toxic Substances Control.
If signed into law, the legislation would take effect after April 1, 2017.
The LA Times newspaper reported that the legislation would not limit the ability of state regulators to go after the battery industry for the costs of cleaning lead contamination it caused.
Garcia’s office said the fees could also pay for cleanups at 14 other sites in California where lead smelters may have operated in the past.
Several sites in Los Angeles County and the Bay Area are on a US Environmental Protection Agency list of potential smelting operations that were unknown to state and federal regulators until identified in a 2001 study, the LA Times wrote.
After the closure of Exide last year, Quemetco Inc is the only lead-acid battery smelter still operating in the City of Industry.
However, lead-acid recycling start-up Aqua Metals recently opened a ‘Green’ battery recycling centre in Nevada.