Lawmakers seek $16 million to expand Exide lead cleanup beyond yards

 A long-overlooked source of lead contamination in neighborhoods near a closed Vernon battery recycler could be cleaned under a push by state lawmakers to target the grassy strips between sidewalks and streets.

The publicly owned stretches of land, known as parkways, are not included in the state's slow-moving cleanup of southeast L.A. County yards near the shuttered Exide Technologies facility.

But with a budget action approved by an Assembly committee Wednesday, state lawmakers seek to commit $16 million in funds for cleaning parkways. The money would come from existing fees on lead-acid car batteries like the ones that were melted down at the Exide plant.

If made law, it would raise the cost of the taxpayer-funded project to about $200 million but bring a more thorough cleanup to communities that have long suffered from health-damaging lead contamination that spewed from the facility.

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