RELEASE: Alarming Mismanagement of Hazardous Waste & Lax Enforcement Allegations - Senators De León & Lara call for an Investigation of the Department of Toxic Substance Control
SACRAMENTO, CA – Responding to alleged mismanagement and enforcement lapses at the California Department of Toxic and Substance Control (DTSC), that have permitted toxic waste to be dumped into public streams and leaked into our air, Senator Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) and Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Long Beach) have called for an investigation by the Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes.
“I am outraged to hear reports of kids and adults having difficulty breathing, experiencing nausea and burning sinuses from chemical exposure. It is outrageous that private companies are mismanaging the same toxic chemicals as in the well-known film ‘Erin Brockovich’ resulting in disproportionate rates of cancer,” said Senator De León. “We must investigate why the DTSC isn’t enforcing our laws which are aimed to protect the health and safety of our communities.”
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s yearly Toxic Release Inventory, toxic releases in California from manufacturing plants and refineries rose in 2011 after steady annual declines since 2007. While pollution released into the air fell statewide by 13 percent in 2011, releases to water and soil increased by 10 percent.
The Consumer Watchdog report titled Golden Wasteland, outlines their investigation and claims DTSC put vulnerable communities at risk by not using the tools they possess to protect Californians from toxic harm. The report cites poisoned air, water and soil mostly affecting minority working class communities. Examples of extreme breaches of California’s anti-pollution laws have recently been reported by NBC-TV.
“These alarming allegations should be investigated immediately and action should be taken to ensure our communities’ health is not put in jeopardy,” stated Senator Ricardo Lara.
Senator De León has requested a meeting with DTSC Director Debbie Raphael and he will consider introducing legislation to serve as a placeholder should any corrective measures be necessary to protect the public health of Californians.
Click here to read Senator Kevin de León’s letter to Debbie Raphael, the Director of the California Department of Toxic and Substance Control. Click here to read the Consumer Watchdog report Golden Wasteland.