BCI legislative triumph after lead battery law kicks off in California

Lead battery manufacturers and consumers have to pay a $1 fee for each battery they make or buy following the implementation on April 1 of the Lead-Acid Battery Recycling Act. Better known as AB2153, this was signed into law last year by California governor Jerry Brown.

This has been a huge success for Battery Council International, which has been responsible for turning the proposed legislation around.

Amendments to the bill filed by California Assembly members Christina Garcia and Miguel Santiago in April 2016 had proposed, among a host of other things, to add a $15 to $20 fee to every lead battery sold in the state.

Most of the concern had been generated by a knee-jerk reaction to the lead contamination scandal around Exide’s recycling plant in Vernon.

“We were able to explain to assembly officials and those drafting the documentation around the bill that this was counter-productive,” says Mark Thorsby, executive director at BCI. “We were able to show that lead is completely recyclable — the most recycled metal on the planet — that chemicals facing stricter standards should be limited to those that directly exposed consumers to toxicity.”

The fees are expected to generate $26 million a year and will be used to investigate, clean up and monitor any area believed to have suffered contamination from the operation of a lead-acid battery recycling facility.

Retailers are required to register, collect and remit the fee to the Board of Equalization, and manufacturers also have to register and remit the fee to the BOE. If a manufacturer is also considered to be a retailer, they must collect the retailers’ fee as well as pay the manufacturers’ fee.

From April 1, 2022, manufacturers will no longer pay the fee but consumers’ fees will be doubled to $2.