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Exide Technologies is an American manufacturer of lead-acid batteries, including automotive batteries and industrial batteries. Its four global business groups (Transportation Americas, Transportation Europe and Rest of World, Industrial Power Americas, and Industrial Power Europe and Rest of World) provide stored electrical energy products and services.

Exide Technologies
Founded1888; 131 years ago (1888)
Headquarters
ProductsBatteries
Websitewww.exide.com

Exide's global headquarters are located in Milton, Georgia. It has both manufacturing and recycling plants. The former are located throughout the U.S., Pacific Rim, Europe and Australia. Recycling plants are located in Canon Hollow, which is north of Forest City, Missouri, and Muncie, Indiana. Two former recycling plants in Frisco, Texas and Vernon, California have been closed in 2012 and 2013.[1] The plants in Reading, Pennsylvania and Baton Rouge, Louisiana have also been closed.

Exide has a controversial record and history in many of the U.S. communities where they operate or used to operate[which?] including stories of environmental contamination, excessive emissions of toxic particulates and public health and safety violations.[2] Exide products and batteries are distributed and sold throughout the United States by a number of companies including: Jiffy Lube, Tractor Supply Company, Home Depot, Dick's Sporting Goods, Camping World, American Tire Depot, BJ's Wholesale Club, Menards, and Discount Tire Centers.[3]

In light of Exide Technologies' environmental and safety record in the U.S., some residents in communities[which?] where Exide operates are questioning[vague] Exide's partners and distributors about their corporate responsibility and culpability in selling Exide's products[citation needed] when millions of dollars in cleanup costs for Exide's role in toxic contamination in California, Texas and Pennsylvania are outstanding.

Contents

HistoryEdit

 
Electric Storage Battery Company advertisement for Exide batteries in the journal Horseless Age, 1918.

Exide's predecessor corporation was the Electric Storage Battery Company, founded by W.W. Gibbs in 1888. Gibbs purchased the ideas and patents of inventor Clement Payen to make the storage battery a commercial product. Gibbs targeted electric lighting companies so they could use the storage batteries to provide services to their customers.[4][5][6]

An important early customer for Electric Storage was the Electric Launch Company, also known as Elco.

In 1893, the Norwegian explorer, Fridtjof Nansen, used Tudor accumulators supplied by the AFA during the expedition to the North Pole, which began in 1893, and from which he returned safely and intact in 1896. The batteries which gave light during the long polar nights were charged by windmill, and the dynamos which were used for recharging are exhibited in the Fram Museum in Oslo, Norway.[7]

In 1898, an Electric Storage battery provided the submerged power for the USS Holland (SS-1), the first submarine commissioned in the US Navy. Electric Storage remained a significant supplier of US Navy submarine batteries at least through World War II. Isaac Rice, president of Electric Storage in 1899, was instrumental in founding the Electric Boat Company as a bailout of the Holland Torpedo Boat Company.[8]

In 1899, a Fulmen battery equipped the "La Jamais Contente" electric car – the first car in the world to exceed 100 km/h (62 mph).[9]

In 1900, the Electric Storage Battery Company developed a product of greater capacity and less weight for electric taxicabs. This battery was the first to bear the name Exide, short for "Excellent Oxide".[4]

 
An Exide Nickel Cadmium battery

In 1902, The Electric Storage Battery Co. formed Willard Storage Battery Co. when they acquired the battery-making assets of a jewelry manufacturer in Cleveland, OH and incorporated them. By 1950 Willard automotive batteries were outselling Exide automotive batteries although The Electric Storage Battery Co. was larger due to diversification.[10]

In 1911, Charles F. Kettering turned to the Electric Storage Battery Company for a suitable automotive battery to complement his new electric starter.[11] This project yielded the first car battery of the modern type.[11] (Within 5 years, there was a substantial field of aftermarket brands in storage batteries and starters for automobiles, as evidenced by the advertisements in automotive trade journals of the era.)

When the United States entered World War I, Exide batteries were used to operate airplane radio sets and power radio stations.

In 1934 the Electric Storage Battery Company filed for the trademark Exide Ironclad and in 1935 their trademark was registered.[12][13]

In 1938, the Electric Storage Battery Company acquired the Giant Storage Battery Company, and expanded into battery chargers and testers.[4]

During World War II, the Electric Storage Battery Company was a major supplier of batteries for U.S. Navy submarines and primary contractor for batteries used in the Mark 18 electric torpedo. [14]

Exide entered the dry-cell battery industry in 1957 when it acquired the Ray-O-Vac Company, the then second largest producer of dry-cell batteries in the US.

Following the acquisition of the Wisconsin Battery Company, Exide started producing motorcycle and specialty batteries.

NASA used solar-charged, nickel-zinc Exide batteries on all of the Apollo space missions.[15]

 
Nickel-iron batteries manufactured between 1972 and 1975 under the "Exide" brand, originally developed in 1901 by Thomas Edison.

In 1972, Exide acquired the Edison Storage Battery Company, which had developed a practical nickel-iron battery in 1901. The production of this type of battery was subsequently discontinued in 1975.

In 1987, Exide acquired General Battery Corporation and moved the company headquarters to Reading, Pennsylvania.[4][16]

Exide became a publicly traded company in October 1993.[17]

In 1996, Exide acquired the French/Italian battery corporation CEAC, Clichy. With this acquisition also came the rights to the German brands Sonnenschein and dryfit. The company Accumulatorenfabrik Sonnenschein had been founded in Berlin in 1910 by Theodor Sonnenschein, and had patented the gel-cell type of valve-regulated lead–acid battery in 1957. (Marketed worldwide under the name dryfit).

In 1997, Exide NASCAR Select Batteries were introduced, which is the official battery of NASCAR. Exide NASCAR Select is engineered to start high compression engines that demand nearly twice the starting power of a typical car. In 2000, the battery brand was renamed Exide Select.

Arthur M. Hawkins resigned as chairman and chief executive officer of Exide in October 1998.[18] Robert A. Lutz, former president and vice chairman at Chrysler Corporation, was appointed Exide's Chairman of the Board. He reorganized the worldwide management structure into Global Business Units and sold off non-battery units to allow the company to concentrate on its primary business.

In 2000, Exide acquired GNB Technologies, a North American supplier of automotive batteries.[4]

In 2002, Exide filed for bankruptcy after compiling a debt of $2.5 billion as a result of the recent acquisitions.[19] In April 2004, a judge approved the company's plan to eliminate $1.3 billion in debt and exit bankruptcy protection by the end of the month[20]

In April 2013, Exide closes plant in Vernon, California (Los Angeles County).[21]

In June 2013, Exide again filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection with the aim of cutting debt and implementing a restructuring plan (Exide Technologies, Case No. 13-11482, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware).

In April 2015, the company emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, which reduced its debt by approximately $600 million.[22]

On May 20, 2015, the Company announced the appointment of Victor M. (Vic) Koelsch, former Executive Vice President, Michelin North America, as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company.[23]

On May 24, 2017, Exide completed a series of financing transactions to fund growth and additional capacity.[24]

On October 25, 2017, Exide Technologies unveiled a $35 Million grid manufacturing facility in Kansas City, Missouri.[25]

On May 24, 2018, Exide expanded its motive power offering with acquisition of Aker Wade Power Technologies.[26]

Significant Environmental Contamination RecordEdit

Exide is one of the world's largest producers, distributors and recyclers of lead-acid batteries. Since 2010, operations at seven (7) Exide lead-acid battery plants have been linked to ambient airborne lead levels that posed a health risk to the environment and thousands of residents in communities and neighborhoods surrounding the Exide plants.[27] Exide has been found to be a significant source of lead emissions and/or contamination in (1) Los Angeles, CA, (2) Frisco, TX, (3) Muncie, IN, (4) Salina, KS, (5) Bristol, TN, (6) Reading, PA, and (7) Forest City, MO.[27]

The EPA's Lead National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) Non-attainment Designations list designates a total of 21 areas and parts of 22 counties across 15 states and Puerto Rico that are in violation of federal air quality health standards for lead emissions.[28]

Exide has operations in six (6) out of the 21 areas that do not meet safe air quality laws; accounting for nearly one-third of the violators (more than any other company).[29] The Exide plants in violation of EPA lead emission standards are in Frisco, TX, Vernon, CA, Muncie, IN, Salina, KS, Reading, PA, and Bristol, TN.[30]

Vernon, CA (Criminal Investigation)Edit

In 2013, Exide was under federal criminal investigation for emitting high levels of harmful pollutants from its battery recycling plant in Vernon, CA.[31] Hundreds of residents had complained for years about Exide's toxic emissions before state and federal agencies acted.[32]

In March 2015, the company signed an agreement with the U.S. attorney's office to close permanently.[2] The deal allowed Exide and its employees to avoid prosecution for years of environmental crimes, including illegal storage, disposal and shipment of hazardous waste, while agreeing to pay $50 million to demolish and clean the plant and surrounding communities, including $9 million set aside for removing lead from homes.[2]

Vernon, CA (Toxic Contamination & Ongoing Cleanup)Edit

In fall 2017, the Department of Toxic Substances Control began to implement their plans to remove lead contaminated soil from 2,500 residential properties near the closed Exide Technologies lead acid battery plant in Vernon.[33] It is believed to be the largest environmental cleanup effort of its kind in California history, encompassing seven (7) Los Angeles County neighborhoods. California state regulators estimate that Exide's operations may have threatened the health of an estimated 100,000 people and 10,000 residential properties.[34] A total of $192 million has been authorized by the state for the massive cleanup effort; $176.6 million of which was approved by Governor Jerry Brown in April 2016.[34]

The $192 million set aside by the State will only allow for cleanup of 2,500 of the estimated 10,000 homes and properties believed to have been contaminated by Exide's decades of pollution. Total costs to clean up the estimated 10,000 homes contaminated by Exide's pollution is believed to be over $500 million.[35] By August 2016, over $42 million of the $192 million had already been spent.[34]

Facing mounting pressure from community activists, residents, and elected officials, to hold Exide, and not taxpayers, accountable for millions of dollars of additional money needed to clean up Exide's toxic lead mess in east L.A. County, the South Coast Air Quality Management District filed claims against Exide totaling over $80 million.[36] On January 31, 2018, Exide Technologies sought to convince a bankruptcy judge that their company is not responsible for the $80 million in additional cleanup costs the state of California is trying to recoup, and that the State's claim should be discharged as part of the company's Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan in 2015. [36] Unless the bankruptcy judge rules against Exide, it is likely that taxpayers will have to pay for cleaning up Exide's toxic mess in East L.A. and for the impact it has had on the lives, health and property of thousands of residents.[citation needed]

Update: Taxpayers pay for Exide CleanupEdit

In May 2018, the CA state Assembly approved a budget action[37] and legislation, AB 2189, to commit $16 million in funds for cleaning public parkways.[38] The funding would come from a bill the CA state legislature passed in 2016 to raise about $176 million to help clean-up Exide's toxic lead contamination mess in Vernon, and surrounding neighborhoods, by levying a fee on batteries for all battery manufacturers and consumers despite the fact that Exide was the only company at fault or named in the legislation.[39]

If AB 2189 is made law, it would raise the cost of the taxpayer-funded Exide cleanup to over $200 million.[39] Exide continues to threaten bankruptcy, again, and is attempting to stall or avoid paying out even the legal amount they agreed to for the cleanup (only ~$9 million so far) to avoid criminal charges and jail time for executives.[34]

To further avoid and stall payment for their toxic mess in L.A. County, Exide filed a lawsuit[40] last year seeking blood lead data on people tested in L.A. County, including each person's age, city and ZIP Code; the age of the home in which each person lived; and any causes of lead poisoning. The state is fighting the lawsuit in court, calling it an attempt by Exide to dodge financial responsibility and blame the contamination on lead paint and gasoline.[34]

Muncie, INEdit

Between 1989 and 2015, Exide Technologies released more than 227,275 pounds of toxic pollutants, including dangerous lead, sulfuric acid and arsenic, into the air and water in Muncie, Indiana where they operate a secondary lead acid battery smelter.[41] In November 2010, the City of Muncie, Indiana and Delaware County were placed on the U.S. EPA's nonattainment list for concentrations of toxic lead in the air that are too high to meet national air quality standards for lead due to emissions from the Exide plant in Muncie.[42]

In March 2015, Exide Technologies agreed to pay an $820,000 civil penalty to settle a lawsuit for violating the Clean Air Act at its Muncie lead smelter plant. According to the U.S. EPA, the violations resulted in increased emissions of lead and particulate matter and may have resulted in increased emissions of total hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds and dioxin/furans.[43]

In October 2015, the Department of Justice and Exide Technologies rejected pleas from the mayor of Muncie, environmental/health groups and three neighborhood associations to install a $31 million in pollution-control equipment at the company's battery recycling facility; like their competitor Quemetco did for their similar lead acid battery plant in nearby Indianapolis. More than a dozen public health, neighborhood, environmental, and public health organizations, led by the Hoosier Environmental Council, had urged the U.S. Department of Justice to add additional pollution controls to the proposed settlement to better protect people in Muncie from lead and arsenic released into the air by Exide. The organizations also asked the DOJ to require Exide to include monitoring for pollutants at Exide's fenceline.[44]

In February 2017, the Exide plant in Muncie experienced three explosions and leakage issues that were not fully or timely disclosed to the relevant state and federal agencies responsible for ensuring Exide's compliance with state and federal laws and safety protocols.[45] Local residents were not made aware of these explosions until nearly a year later, January 2018, raising concerns about any risks to the environment and to the health and safety of hundreds of families that live near the Exide facility.

A year later, in February 2018, it was reported that a local pediatrician and the Delaware County Health Department had informed Indiana state officials in 2017 of cases of Exide Technologies’ workers tracking lead home on their clothing and exposing their children to the toxic metal.[46][47][48]

It was also reported that the local health department made a complaint on June 20 to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management about "a recent increase in the amount of elevated blood lead level cases" reported to local health officials in the community, and that "several of these cases have revealed connections to the Exide plant" with the "business's activities" being a "likely source of this lead exposure."[46][47][48]

Following reports that Exide workers may have exposed their families to lead contamination in Muncie, residents there have expressed broader concerns about Exide's lead-acid battery plant and the toll that Exide's decades of toxic emissions of lead and other contaminants may have had on the health and safety of hundreds of residents that live near the plant.[49][50]

In response to the Indiana Environmental Department of Management's (IDEM) decision not to hold a public meeting on Exide's five-year general operating permit in 2018,[51] dozens of residents took to the streets near the Exide plant in Muncie to decry IDEM's decision and to push for testing of the air, soil and water at the hundreds of homes and properties located near the lead-acid battery plant.[52][53][54] Residents' request and fight for more protection from Exide's current and past decades of pollution in Muncie continues.

Columbus, GAEdit

Exide used to operate a secondary lead recycling plant in Columbus that was taken out of service in 1999 and now the plant continues to operate as a lead-acid battery manufacturing facility at 3639 Joy Road. [55] Between 1987-2015, Exide released 362,102 pounds of toxic pollutants, including lead and arsenic, in the air and water near their plant in Columbus. [56]

In 1988, Exide was forced to clean up contaminated groundwater in Columbus resulting from their plant and practices. Costs for supplemental investigations, remediation and site closure are ongoing and currently estimated at $13.5 million. [57]

In 2009, Exide received $34.3 million in federal taxpayer money and over $15 million in local tax incentives to boost production of next gen batteries and create more jobs at their plants in Columbus and Bristol, TN but came under fire after shuttering their plant in Bristol not long after taking the taxpayer money and incentives.[29]

In 2017, Georgia's Environmental Protection Division fined Exide Technologies $41,000 for violating federal emissions standards on lead at their Columbus lead acid battery plant in November and December 2016 and January 2017.[58] l[59]

In 2018, Exide Technologies was fined $11,328 by the state of Georgia for once again not being in compliance with toxic emissions standards and safety. Inspectors found that Exide was emitting high levels of lead gas into the air; over 200% more than the allowable amount of lead.[60] News of Exide's fine and excessive lead emissions has raised concerns among thousands of residents and families that live near Exide's plant on what Exide's practices and behavior means for their health and safety. Several residents have asked that something be done to ensure they and their families are safe and are not exposed to dangerous levels of lead contamination in the air, soil and water where they live.[60]

Salina, KS (Elevated Lead Levels in Children)Edit

Exide Technologies operates a large lead-acid battery plant in Salina, KS. Between 1987 and 2015, Exide released over 166,077 pounds of lead, antimony, arsenic and other contaminates into the air and water in Salina.[61] Between 2010–2013, and in 2016, Exide exceeded allowed lead concentration release limits over 18 times, in violation of the Clean Air Act,[62] and in 2010, the plant was largely responsible for the area being designated as one of 16 areas in the nation with concentrations of toxic lead in the air too high to meet national air quality standards for lead according to the EPA.[42]

Given Exide's occupation and long history of violations for excessive lead emissions and safety in Salina, several residents over the years have expressed concerns about the plant and have asked about possible correlations to troubling reports and data showing higher numbers of blood lead levels in children in Saline County, where Exide operates, than in surrounding counties and communities in Kansas.[63]

Between 2000–2010, the mean blood lead levels in Saline Co. averaged 16.5 ug/dL, more than double that of all other counties in Kansas which averaged 7.5 ug/dL[64] and children living in the city of Salina, had a significantly higher mean blood lead level (3.00 µg/dL) compared to children living in all other Kansas zip codes (2.86 µg/dL)[65]

In 2016, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) organized a meeting after tests by local doctors in 2016 found elevated lead levels in the blood of 32 Saline County children — most of them from Salina.[66] This came on the heels of reports of elevated blood levels being found in 84 Saline County children between 2013–2015.[66]

A few residents at the 2016 community meeting asked whether local officials and agencies were investigating any potential correlation or links to the number of children in Salina with elevated levels of toxic lead in their blood, and Exide's lead acid-battery plant in Salina.[63][67]

However, representatives at KDHE tried to avert the inquires by noting that the Exide plant had reduced their lead emissions each year since 2012, following the EPA's stricter requirements on lead emissions, and some plant renovations, and glossed over the fact that Exide still sent a total of 6,720 pounds of lead into the air during that period (2012–2015).[63][67] KDHE also failed to mention the potentially bigger problem of cumulative lead and other toxic contaminate build up in the soil and water within a 1–3 mile radius of the plant over the decades the plant has been in operation, and did not demonstrate any intention to test the soil or groundwater of homes and public spaces near the plant for elevated levels of lead and other toxic contaminants.[citation needed]

KDHE representatives also helped turn attention away from Exide by releasing a map showing where the 32 children with elevated blood levels live, many not adjacent to Exide's plant.[63] However, KDHE representatives failed to mention that no comprehensive blood testing was conducted for families that live near the plant, that results included only reported cases from local doctors whose parents brought their child in for a medical issue or check-in, and that the children of employees who work at the plant, who are exposed daily to lead, live all over the city and not just adjacent to the plant.[citation needed]

To date, no substantive government action has been taken to address this issue. The contamination source(s) for the disproportionate number of children with elevated blood lead levels in Salina, KS and Saline County, remains an apparent mystery.[citation needed]

Bristol, TNEdit

In 2008, it was reported that Exide was emitting two times the amount of pollutants allowed into the environment at their secondary lead acid battery smelter plant in Bristol, TN.[68] Instead of correcting their behavior, Exide asked the state to raise the emissions limit by two times.[69] It was also reported that Exide was doing its own testing and that the Tennessee Division of Air Pollution Control appeared to have no idea of the level of pollution coming from the Bristol plant.[68]

In 2013, Exide idled the facility and laid off hundreds of Bristol employees after having received $34.3 million in federal taxpayer stimulus money and as much as $15 million in state tax incentives for their plants in Bristol, TN and Columbus, GA. Instead of investing that taxpayer money, as promised, in Bristol, and creating new jobs, Exide closed the plant "as part of a strategic initiative to have other manufacturing locations running near capacity."[70][71]

In March 2017, Exide filed an application with the State of Tennessee to resume partial operations at the idled facility in Bristol, TN. Hundreds of residents expressed concerns about Exide's resumed operation of the plant in Bristol and demanded a public meeting on Exide's application.[72][73] Giving in to mounting pressure for a public meeting and for more safety monitoring in light of Exide's long record of fines and violations for emissions and safety practices, Exide elected to withdraw their application to resume operations in Bristol in April 2017.[74]

Reading, PA (Toxic Contamination & Ongoing Cleanup)Edit

Exide operates a lead smelter and recycled lead batteries in Reading, PA. The EPA found that Exide contributed to lead emissions and toxic contaminant releases that impacted the soils in the surrounding community and conditions at the site that required extensive cleanup and remediation of toxic contaminants in the area in 1996.[75] In 2012, Exide announced plans to idle their lead-recycling operations in Reading/Laureldale and laid off 150 workers with plans to keep their permits active should they decide to re-open in the future.[76]

In 2015, Berks County pursued legal action to strengthen air-pollution monitoring near the Exide facility to better protect residents’ health and safety but a federal appeals court denied the County's request to relocate a pollution monitor or install an additional air monitor near the plant. County Commissioner Mark C. Scott noted that the appeal was filed as a preemptive measure to protect the community from air pollution if the Exide plant decides to reopen.[77]

Lead Contamination from Exide Plant Resurfaces after CleanupEdit

In 2017, the Reading Eagle newspaper published a series of stories that focused on a study that found lead levels remain high in the borough despite remediation efforts ordered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency about two decades ago at hundreds of properties near the Exide plant.[78] A team of reporters worked in collaboration with a chemistry professor at Metropolitan State University in Denver to conduct soil studies in Laureldale and found strong signs that decades of toxic emissions from the Exide Technologies' battery factory in Reading are taking their toll on neighboring properties.[79]

News of the study has raised strong concerns from residents in the community about Exide's past practices and pollution and any impacts it may have had on the health and safety of residents that live near the plant.[80] For example, there was a story about one Reading family's plea for help on social media for an investigation into the cause of lead poisoning in their family.[81] And there was a story about a local high school reunion and “a darker truth” that “local industry and the pollutants it creates may be to blame” for the above average loss of many classmates over the years.[82]

In response to the study and findings of elevated levels of lead near the idled Exide plant, State Sen. Judy Schwank called for review of the original Reading/Laureldale cleanup.[83] A bipartisan group of lawmakers also created a task force to assess the scope of Pennsylvania's lead problem and recommend changes to the way the state tests and remediates lead contamination.[84] The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers grabbed soil samples from six residential properties in Laureldale and Muhlenberg Township to test whether lead concentrations pose a public health risk as part of a federal follow-up to a recent soil study that found high lead concentrations in properties that should have been remediated a decade ago near a now idled battery plant owned by Exide Technologies Inc.[85]

In late 2017, the federal EPA commenced cleanup of soil contaminated with lead from the idled Exide plant.[86] The breadth and cost of the cleanup is ongoing.

Frisco, TX (Toxic Contamination & Cleanup)Edit

From 2001 to 2012, Exide Technologies received 50 written notices of violation for a lack of federal compliance or unsafe working conditions at their Frisco lead-acid battery recycling plant.[87] The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) found 27 violations at the plant that occurred between March 31, 2009 and June 30, 2010. The TCEQ listed 12 violations which included soil and water contamination and evidence of toxic discharges that raised concerns about effects on downstream waters. Between May and June 2011, the TCEQ conducted four separate investigations on Exide's Frisco facility and found dangerous levels of lead and cadmium. Levels that qualify the facility for Superfund site status.[87]

The Exide plant ceased operations in 2012 following a $45 million agreement with the city of Frisco to transfer a 180-acre buffer zone surrounding the plant to the city while the company would keep the 90 acres of land the plant occupies. As part of the requirements of the deal, Exide is required to clean the land to federally acceptable standards before transferring it to the city.[88] Exide has been unwilling to cooperate with the City of Frisco. Evidence has shown that Exide has been downplaying the amount of lead and other pollutants on its site to minimize the about of remediation that is required for the site closure. In addition, Frisco's spokesperson Dana Baird, said that the city's estimated $20 million allocated for remediation would not be enough to for the cleanup cost.[89][90]

Criticism from Environmental ActivistsEdit

Community activists are driving a growing national conversation about environmental justice, the idea that communities of all races and incomes should have the same kind of environmental quality and protection.[91]

One of the leaders of this movement, Mark Lopez, received the 2017 Goldman Environmental Prize, for the work he did with his Southeast L.A. based community group, East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice[92] addressing the devastating lead contamination in east and southeast L.A., where the Exide lead-acid battery recycling plant had violated environmental regulations for more than 30 years as state regulators turned a blind eye.[91] Lopez and other community activists urged state lawmakers to take action on the Exide plant after decades of complaints about the plant from residents went unanswered.[91]

Community activists, like Lopez, and environmental scholars, have effectively argued that major industrial polluters, like Exide, have been able to get away with significant and gross amounts of pollution, violations and non-compliance with local, state and federal regulations, by preying on predominantly, if not almost exclusively, poorer, ethnic and minority populations that often live near or adjacent to these major sources of pollution like Exide's lead acid battery plant in Vernon, CA. [93] Specifically, it has been argued that Exide is continuously protected by regulatory agencies that take no responsibility in low-income communities of color.[93] For example, at a South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) board hearing, the mayor of Maywood, Oscar Magana, argued that the Department of Toxic Substances Control and the SCAQMD, would have closed the Exide plant in Vernon much sooner if it had been placed in Beverly Hills, or any other affluent, predominantly white community.[93] It has been argued that there appears to be "a racial dimension and language barrier that explains the pattern of violations by Exide and the environmental racism perpetuated by regulatory agencies that protect the interest of Exide." [93]

Sears Battery Fraud ScandalEdit

In March 2001, Exide pleaded guilty to fraud conspiracy charges and agreed to pay a fine of $27.5 million to end a federal criminal investigation into auto battery sales to customers of Sears, Roebuck & Company. The case arose from investigations and accusations that Exide conspired with Sears to sell used batteries as new to Sears customers and that Exide officials had paid bribes to conceal the fraud.[94]

In 2002, two former top executives of Exide Technologies were sentenced to prison for their scheme to sell defective batteries to Sears, Roebuck & Co. Former Exide president Douglas N. Pearson was sentenced to five years and four months in prison and ordered to pay a $150,000 fine. Pearson's accomplice, former Exide chief executive Arthur M. Hawkins, was sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay a $1 million fine. The two were convicted of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud in a huge scheme to sell defective Exide batteries to Sears for its Die-hard battery line.[95]

Headquarters and LocationsEdit

Exide Technologies' global headquarters is located in Milton, Georgia. It has both manufacturing and recycling plants located throughout the U.S. and Europe. Exide's European Headquarters is located in Gennevilliers, France. Exide operates in approximately 80 countries around the world.[96]

Exide operates three R&D facilities including one in the U.S.(Milton, Georgia), and two in Europe (Büdingen, Germany and Azuqueca, Spain)

Exide operates seven manufacturing plants and three recycling plants in the U.S. In Europe, Exide operates ten manufacturing plants and three recycling facilities.

Exide maintains principal sales offices in Mexico City, São Paulo, Dubai, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Sydney.

Sustainability and RecyclingEdit

Exide is one of the largest secondary recyclers in the world, and one of the few battery companies with the ability to provide Total Battery Management, also known as closed loop recycling. Closed loop recycling frees customers from the burden of handling spent batteries in their own facilities.[97]

Recycling recovers 99% of all lead received at Exide's recycling centers. Every year Exide recycles millions of pounds of lead and recovers and neutralizes millions of gallons of sulfuric acid. [97]

In 2017 Exide Technologies recycled 35 million pounds of plastic in the United States alone, which was used to produce 13 million new batteries.[98]

Lead battery recycling is one of the best examples of a circular economy as recognized by the World Economic Forum.[98]

Industry-wide, this “closed loop” process for recycling lead batteries keeps more than 1.7 million tons of lead batteries out of U.S. landfills annually.[99]

Products and SolutionsEdit

Exide produces batteries and accessories for the Transportation markets with applications in the original-equipment and aftermarket channels for Auto/Truck/SUV,[100] Heavy Duty, Lawn and Garden, Marine/RV, Golfcarts and Powersport, using Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM), Flooded, Enhanced Flooded Battery and Gel (VRLA) technologies. Exide also markets lithium-ion batteries for motorbikes in Europe.

Exide serves the Industrial market with both lead acid and lithium-ion batteries[101] for Motive Power material handling (forklifts), Railroad, Mining and Submarine applications.[102] Exide also provides charging and fast charging solutions for material handling applications as well as modeling and real time monitoring solutions. Exide produces energy storage solutions for Industrial Network Power markets including the Telecommunications, Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS), Utility and Solar storage segments as well as other critical backup needs.

ReferencesEdit

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