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Besieged LA-area battery recycler warns of layoffs

VERNON, Calif. (AP) -- A Los Angeles-area battery recycler that was shut down amid complaints of toxic pollution has sent layoff notices to its 120 employees.

Exide Technologies said Monday that the layoffs are temporary and could take effect in 60 days.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District sued Exide in January, claiming its Vernon plant exposed people to arsenic and other cancer-causing chemicals. The agency last month approved a final plan for reducing pollution but the plant _ which processed 25,000 batteries a day _ is closed until requirements are met.

The company says it's spending $25 million to reduce pollution. However, the AQMD rejected a request for more time to meet strict new air quality requirements.

Exide also lost a court bid to continue operating while it challenges the new requirements.

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