tesla fremont factory

Tesla settles hazardous waste lawsuit in California for $1.5 million

Credit: Tesla

Tesla has agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle a California case alleging that it mislabeled hazardous waste and sent it to landfills that can’t process the materials.

After 25 California counties filed lawsuits against Tesla for the alleged mishandling of the waste materials on Tuesday, the automaker on Thursday agreed to pay a $1.3 million civil penalty, as well as $200,000 to the counties as a reimbursement for the costs of investigating the issue. Settled on Thursday by Judge Jayne Lee in San Joaquin County state court, the lawsuit alleged that Tesla had been violating hazardous waste laws at 101 facilities across California, along with its Fremont factory.

The lawsuit claimed that Tesla improperly labeled waste such as diesel fuel, paint materials, lubricating oils, brake fluids and used lead-acid batteries, among others, sending the materials to landfills that don’t accept these types of waste. The suit also names nine violations related to the handling of waste, from disposal and overall handling to transportation and employee training.

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While Tesla did not admit to doing anything wrong in response to the suit, the company agreed to the settlement amount and said it will take steps to better handle waste in the future, along with hiring a third-party auditor to monitor its waste handling over a five-year period. The automaker also said it had already begun screening its waste more carefully.

“While electric vehicles may benefit the environment, the manufacturing and servicing of these vehicles still generates many harmful waste streams,” San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said in a statement (via Reuters).

Below are the 25 California counties which filed lawsuits against Tesla:

  • San Joaquin County
  • Alameda County
  • Butte County
  • Contra Costa County
  • Fresno County
  • Kern County
  • Los Angeles County
  • Marin County
  • Monterey County
  • Orange County
  • Placer County
  • Riverside County
  • Sacramento County
  • San Bernardino County
  • San Diego County
  • San Francisco County
  • San Luis Obispo County
  • San Mateo County
  • Santa Barbara County
  • Santa Clara County
  • Solano County
  • Sonoma County
  • Stanislaus County
  • Tulare County
  • Ventura County

Tesla has also faced other environmental lawsuits in California in the past, including one case in 2021 in which the automaker settled for $1 million over the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) alleging air quality violations from the company’s Fremont paint shop.

You can also see the full complaint document from the hazardous waste suit below, as filed last Tuesday.

Tesla Hazardous Waste Lawsu… by zacharydvisconti

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Tesla settles hazardous waste lawsuit in California for $1.5 million
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