HUNTINGTON PARK (CBSLA.com)  —  By all accounts, the numbers are staggering.

As many as 10,000 homes contaminated. As much as $400 million to clean up the toxic mess left in the wake of the closure of the Exide Battery Re-cycling Plant.

The state says they’ve come up with about $7 million of the money needed.

The question being asked by KCAL9’s Randy Paige is — where will the state get the additional $390 million to fix it and return the area back to normal?

Paige said, “we put that question Friday to the most powerful member of the state legislature — State Senator Pro Tem Kevin de León.

He also asked if the state would try to get Exide to pay for it.

“I think the focus should be on Exide,” de León said, “Litigation most likely will ensue, but the bottom line is – those who are responsible for this is Exide and they must be held accountable.”

Paige asked if the state could recoup much money while in litigation with Exide.

“I think what the state — with the executive branch through the governor — we negotiated a small percentage of money for a light bridge for Exide to finally open up the pocketbooks and start cleaning up.”

de León says he has placed provisions in the state budget that would create a three-person panel of experts to monitor the agency tasked to monitor the clean up, DTSC or the California Department of Toxic Substances.

“I’m watching DTSC like a hawk, it’s why we created the three-member group. And if you don’t perform,” de León said, “were going to dismantle the agency altogether.”

Like many of the fed-up, frustrated and frazzled residents waiting and waiting for a clean up, de León says he feels their frustration.

“I don’t think they should be waiting, he said, “I think it should be done immediately.”

 

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