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Federal authorities faced an outpouring of community opposition at a public hearing Tuesday over an Exide Technologies bankruptcy plan to abandon a shuttered Vernon battery recycling plant blamed for spreading lead contamination across southeast L.A. County.

The near-universal indignation came from dozens of members of the predominantly Latino communities surrounding the closed Exide Technologies facility. One person after another during the hours-long hearing blasted the proposal and urged authorities to reject it and pursue actions to hold the company accountable for its pollution.

The U.S. Department of Justice and Environmental Protection Agency have agreed not to oppose the company’s plan, which is scheduled to be considered for approval at a bankruptcy court hearing Thursday.

“Accepting this terrible proposal would be letting Exide off the hook for poisoning our families with lead and other heavy metals,” said Mayor Elizabeth Alcantar of Cudahy. “The federal government should not be acting on the side of corporate polluters, and instead should be defending our residents.”

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