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Advocates Call on Governor Brown to Side with Communities on Key Legislation Reforming Hazardous Waste Permitting

Top Toxics Regulator, Backed by Industry, is Working to Eviscerate Key Provisions of SB 812

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Aug. 25, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Consumer Watchdog and the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice today asked Governor Jerry Brown and California EPA Secretary Matt Rodriquez to reject an attack by the state's top toxics regulator—the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC)—on key reform legislation authored by Sen. Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles.

"We have learned from the attached letter that our top toxics regulator is working to derail Sen. Kevin de Leon's important bill, SB 812, to reform its permitting process and to close down serial polluters like lead battery recycler Exide Technologies in east Los Angeles," wrote Consumer Watchdog Advocate Liza Tucker and leading environmentalist Penny Newman.

To see DTSC's letter claiming that most of the legislation's provisions are "unnecessary," see: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/dtsc-opposition-sb-812.pdf

"The reason we need this legislation is because DTSC has purposefully refused to deal administratively with serial polluters, cutting them endless breaks and levying wrist-slap fines instead of suspending, denying, or revoking permits for breaking any number of state environmental laws, as is authorized under California statute."

For Consumer Watchdog/CCAEJ letter, see: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/dtsc-opposition-sb-812.pdf

The advocates said it was critical to create a Bureau of Internal Affairs to investigate allegations of misconduct and make affected communities part of the enforcement process, as well as to retain other key features of the bill such as forcing DTSC to meet statutory deadlines on setting out criteria for hazardous waste permit denials.

"We call on you not to side with DTSC and the polluters who oppose SB 812, but instead to break with this agency among your ranks and agree with us on the necessity for serious reform," they wrote. "DTSC has proven that it is not capable of reforming its own culture and practices to be able to protect Californians from either toxic or fiscal harm."

DTSC has come under fire in recent months from advocates, media, outside consultants, and the State Auditor for falling down on the job of regulating hazardous waste. The State Auditor recently uncovered that DTSC had failed to bill or to collect $194 million in costs for oversight of toxic cleanups. Almost a third of all hazardous waste facilities are currently running on expired contracts, some of them for decades at a time.

For more, see: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-calls-governor-brown-fix-top-toxics-regulator-wake-scathing-state-audi

SOURCE Consumer Watchdog

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