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Southern California regulators approve toxic emission reductions plan for battery recycler

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VERNON, California — Southern California regulators have approved a final plan to reduce toxic pollution at a battery recycling plant that neighbors have blamed for health problems.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District says it approved the plan for Exide Technologies on Wednesday.

The AQMD sued Exide for $40 million in January, claiming its Vernon plant exposed people to arsenic and other cancer-causing chemicals.

Exide said Thursday that it's spent more than $20 million to improve the plant and expects to spend another $5 million under the new plan to further reduce air pollution.

Meanwhile, state officials this month said tests found elevated lead levels in the soil of 39 surrounding homes and a school. They ordered Exide to create a plan to protect neighborhood children and pregnant women.

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