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Dr. Wells Testifies at State Capitol

By Everett & Associates on Feb 08, 2016 at 11:24 AM in LEA Announcements
Dr. Wells Testifies at State Capitol
Jim Wells testifying at the State Assembly Hearing on Environmental Safety and Toxics

Jim Wells, Principal Geologist and C.O.O. of L. Everett & Associates, was invited to testify at a January 2016 hearing held by the California State Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials. Dr. Wells appeared with the Secretary of Cal-EPA, Directory of the Department of Toxic Substances Control and the Executive Officer of the South Coast Air Quality Management District, along with others. The topic of the hearing was “Keeping our Communities Safe: Oversight of Toxic Waste Facility Closure Plans” with a special emphasis on the Exide secondary lead smelter in Vernon, California. Preliminary data suggests that emissions from the (now closed) Exide facility may have caused lead contamination in the yards of up to 10,000 homes, making this one of the largest environmental cleanups in California history.

Dr. Wells presented data showing that the on-site Closure Plan would allow the responsible party to leave large amounts of contaminated soil in place and could potentially tie DTSC’s hands for requiring a more thorough cleanup in the future. He also explained how the problem at Exide was knowable many years ago, but environmental agencies failed to recognize it. Starting at least in 2001, published literature raised concern about the impacts of secondary lead smelters on surrounding neighborhoods. Shortly thereafter, US EPA began a comprehensive evaluation of former secondary lead smelters around the country. The US EPA study further increased awareness of potential problems from secondary lead smelters within the environmental community but local and state agencies still did not connect the dots and only belatedly recognized the serious off-site problems at Exide.