Tesla Ends California Hazardous Waste Case With $1.5M Fine
Tesla Ends California Hazardous Waste Case With $1.5M Fine

Tesla Pays A $1.5M Fine To End A California Hazardous Waste Case

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That Was Quick

A settlement was reached just two days after district attorneys from 25 California counties sued Tesla, saying the company regularly messed up the handling of hazardous waste at its facilities across the state.

A press statement from the Office of the District Attorney in San Francisco says that Tesla has agreed to pay $1.3 million in fines and $200,000 to cover the costs of the investigation. Tesla is also subject to a detailed injunction that lasts for five years and says it must train its workers and hire a third party to check the trash cans at 10% of its facilities every year for waste. The joint release sent Thursday evening says that these checks will happen once a year for five years and that trash cans will be searched for hazardous waste.

The San Francisco District Attorney’s (SFDA) office says Tesla will pay for these checks out of future costs.

Tesla owns 18 solar energy facilities and 57 car repair centers in California. At its Fremont Factory in Alameda County, it also makes electric cars.

The SFDA office said that the quick resolution was because the parties had already made a deal before the complaint was sent in. “The Complaint and the Stipulated Judgment were both filed on Tuesday at the same time, which shows that both sides agreed to this.” This morning, however, the judge gave his approval to the deal,” an SFDA spokesperson said in an email.

Brooke Jenkins, the district attorney for San Francisco, said in a statement, “While electric vehicles may be better for the environment, the manufacturing and servicing of these vehicles still creates many harmful waste streams.” “Today’s settlement against Tesla Inc. helps keep the environment cleaner for people all over the state by keeping our valuable natural resources from getting dirty when hazardous waste is improperly handled and dumped.” We’re happy to work with our partner district attorneys to make sure that California’s environmental laws are followed and that these dangerous wastes are handled correctly.

Tesla allegedly mislabeled and threw away paints, brake fluid, aerosols, antifreeze, acetone, diesel fuel, “lead acid batteries and other batteries,” and other things at its production and service facilities across the state, according to a complaint filed on January 30 in San Joaquin County Superior Court. The lawsuits also say that Tesla threw away the waste in the wrong way, both on-site and at sites that can’t handle hazardous waste.

The environmental study has been going on for six years, even though the lawsuit was only filed yesterday.

Prosecutors say that the San Francisco District Attorney’s Environmental Division started an investigation in 2018 when SFDA agents checked out Tesla’s trash cans at its service centers while pretending to be someone else. Inspections showed that many used, dangerous car parts, like lubricating oils, brake cleaners, and antifreeze, were being thrown away illegally.

After the discovery, more checks were made at Tesla car service centers and eventually at the automaker’s Fremont factory, where they found illegal disposal of more hazardous wastes, such as metal car panel welding spatter waste (which can contain copper), waste paint mix cups made during paint repair, and wipes and debris that were contaminated with primer.

Also Read: Tesla Has Been Sued for Years in California for Supposedly Mishandling Hazardous Waste

The SFDA’s office said in a joint news release that Tesla did help with the investigation and took steps to improve its compliance. Before the case, there were already talks about a settlement.

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