Tesla to pay $1.5 million to 25 California counties for mishandling hazardous waste

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Electric automaker Tesla agreed to pay $1.5 million to 25 California counties over the weekend in San Joaquin County Superior Court in Stockton, reaching a settlement agreement over a lawsuit that alleged improperly labeling hazardous waste and The sending was filed just a few days ago. Dumping those that cannot accept hazardous materials.

According to The People of California v. Tesla, which was filed by the counties of Los Angeles, Butte, Contra Costa, Fresno, Alameda, Marin, Monterey, Orange, Placer, San Joaquin, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego. San Luis Obispo, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Tulare, and Ventura and 21 others from across the state, Tesla did not properly label what type of trash could be sent to the landfill. Had been. Some of the waste came from facilities that dealt with hazardous waste and was mislabeled. Tesla also reportedly sent some of this material to landfills that were not equipped to handle such materials.

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“Tesla knowingly disposed of hazardous waste and knowingly disposed of hazardous waste at locations that were not authorized nor properly equipped to handle that material,” the lawsuit said.

While several of Tesla’s service centers were called out by the suit, the counties said the main culprit behind the hazardous materials was Tesla’s Fremont plant. The suit also mentions several hazardous materials, including batteries and paint.

With the lawsuit threatening to reach millions of people, Tesla decided to settle by sending a settlement offer only 48 hours after the lawsuit began. San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge Janine Lee on Thursday approved the settlement, which totaled $1.5 million. Upon conviction, Tesla must pay $1.3 million in civil penalties, $200,000 to the counties for the costs of the investigation, and comply with an injunction over the next 5 years to ensure no further incidents occur in the future.

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“Although electric vehicles can benefit the environment, manufacturing and servicing these vehicles still generates many harmful waste streams,” San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said in a statement. “Tesla, Inc. Today’s agreement against hazardous waste serves to provide a cleaner environment for citizens throughout the state by preventing the pollution of our precious natural resources during the mismanagement and illegal disposal of hazardous waste. We are proud to work with our district attorney partners to enforce California’s environmental laws to ensure that these hazardous wastes are properly handled.

As of Saturday, Tesla has not yet issued a statement on the agreement. However, experts said the deal is the latest twist in the company’s complex relationship with the state. While Tesla faces other lawsuits in the state, recent firings, and the company’s headquarters move from Palo Alto to Austin in late 2021, Tesla has also established its new engineering headquarters in California, and Even new factories are opening in the state. ,

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“This ultimately doesn’t do much for Tesla,” David Singath, a San Francisco-based tech lawyer, told the Globe. “It was a very practical move to save money and not drag it into a big negative press deal. Basically they agreed that they would pay for their mistake, agree on some monitoring to make sure it doesn’t happen again, and generally move on. What this means is that some California lawmakers get another issue against Tesla whenever they try to rally against Tesla. You can also bet the UAW will also try to spin this and say ‘Well, if this were a union shop, this wouldn’t have happened.’ The story here is not about the agreement, but about its after-effects. And they will be in line for years.

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