Feb 26 - CA Department of Corrections Sued over Illegal Battery Disposal

Public safety and environmental advocacy group Taxpayers for Improving Public Safety ("TiPS") announced today it has taken the first step in suing the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) for illegally dumping millions of batteries into county landfills.

Under the state's Universal Waste rules, all discarded batteries are toxic and illegal to dispose of in landfills. Batteries are a concentrated source of toxic heavy metals which are known to contaminate soil, water supplies, and the environment. Statewide, the penalties for these violations could cost the department as much as $850,000 per day.

"It makes no sense that in a time when government is trying to get consumers to be environmentally responsible, that one of our state's largest agencies is illegally dumping," says former Assemblyman Paul Koretz, who carried legislation on recycling batteries.

CDCR, due to massive overcrowding and an antiquated electrical system in the prisons, restricts inmates to two plug-in electrical appliances such as a typewriter and reading light. Inmates using an additional appliance must use battery power. However, the department routinely disposes of the batteries as part of the general trash rather than segregating the items and delivering them for recyclingâ€"thereby violating California law.

Through this litigation, TiPS will seek to compel CDCR to:

(1) cease and desist in polluting our State’s landfills with toxic materials;

(2) insure that inmates are not deprived of the use of battery powered items;

(3) insure that inmates are guaranteed access to batteries for appliances until such time as CDCR completes the infrastructure upgrades necessary to no longer require battery powered appliances; and

(4) recover the maximum amount of civil damages allowed by law.

For more info: www.ForPublicSafety.com