- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 3, 2016

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - A new report raises concerns about the staffing and budget at California’s toxic-waste regulator, which is facing scrutiny following the shutdown of a battery recycling plant in Los Angeles County.

The report was issued in January by a three-person panel charged with recommending changes at the Department of Toxic Substances Control.

The report says lawmakers should continue funding 14 staff members who recover cleanup money from polluters. Their positions expire this summer.

It also recommends that the agency require companies seeking hazardous-waste permits to have enough money set aside for cleanup if something goes wrong. And it suggests creating an appeals board to speed permit processing.

Lawmakers stepped up pressure on the agency after Excide Technologies admitted felony violations over 20 years at its battery recycling plant in Vernon.

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