Today, Governor Jerry Brown asked the California legislature for one hundred and seventy-six million dollars to clean up a toxic mess near Los

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hundred and seventy-six million dollars to clean up a toxic mess near Los

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SCOTT PELLEY: Today, Governor Jerry Brown asked the California legislature for one hundred and seventy-six million dollars to clean up a toxic mess near Los Angeles. The Exide Battery Recycling plant shut down in 2014, but it left dangerous lead in the soil. Mireya Villarreal is following this.

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MIREYA VILLARREAL: Amelia Vallejo no longer allows her children to play in their yard.

AMELIA VALLEJO: Before my kids would play on the ground. They would roll over on the grass. I didn`t know I was harming my kids.

MIREYA VILLARREAL: Her home sits a mile north of Exide Technologies where, according to state environmental agencies, these smoke stacks were spewing dangerous levels of lead and arsenic particles into nearby communities for years. Vallejo`s property tested positive for lead at fifteen hundred parts per million, which is above levels for hazardous waste by California state standards. Several members of her family suffer from serious health conditions often associated with lead poisoning including her five-year-old disabled son.

AMELIA VALLEJO: I feel like my whole family has been taken advantage, but yet, we are not getting the proper help. It`s taking quite a bit of time. And once again, the damage has been done.

MIREYA VILLARREAL: Since 1981, Exide Technologies recycled car batteries in Vernon, California, using a temporary permit, which allowed them to side- step strict state hazardous waste laws for more than thirty years. During that time, the company was cited by California`s Department of Toxic Substances at least ten times and issued over 1.3 million dollars in fines. But last year, to avoid criminal prosecution, Exide made a deal with the federal government to shut down and set aside nine million dollars in a trust for clean-up.

HILDA SOLIS: I see this as a big environmental justice issue.

MIREYA VILLARREAL: Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis has been pushing the state to do more for months. She says today`s one-hundred-and- seventy-six-million-dollar plan is a start, but it may not be enough to make these families whole again.

HILDA SOLIS: I think the state failed them. I think Exide failed them.

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MIREYA VILLARREAL: State officials say this size of a clean-up, including the plant and surrounding homes could take well over a hundred and seventy- six million dollars, but they won`t know an exact amount until they get started. And, Scott, that is a process that could take several years to finish.

SCOTT PELLEY: Mireya Villarreal in our Los Angeles newsroom. Mireya, thank you.

A man loses a wallet and gets a letter explaining why he`s not getting it back. That`s next.

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SCOTT PELLEY: When Reilly Flaherty lost his wallet in New York, he thought he`d never see it again, and he won`t. The other day, the person who found it mailed Flaherty his license and his credit cards with a letter explaining, "I kept the cash because I needed weed, the Metrocard, because, well, the subway fare`s to seventy-five, and the wallet, because it`s kind of cool." He may not be honest, but at least he`s honest about it. Flaherty was particularly upset that the anonymous writer kept his Mister Shiny`s Shoeshine loyalty card because he said I almost had a free shine.

And we`ll be right back.

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