California vs. Tesla: Hazardous waste lawsuit against electric car giant

"Tesla hasn't even done what an auto mechanic is supposed to do"

2 mins read

Electric car giant Tesla has been sued for violating laws on hazardous waste.

A lawsuit filed Tuesday by 25 California counties argued that tech billionaire Elon Musk’s company violated state laws on the transportation and classification of hazardous waste.

The district attorneys’ complaint alleged violations at at least 101 of Tesla’s facilities in the state.

The plaintiffs argued that paints, brake fluids, used batteries, diesel fuel and antifreeze were not properly classified as waste.

It was also alleged that the company “deliberately disposed of this waste in areas prohibited by law”.

The complaint also alleged that Tesla failed to provide its employees with adequate training on waste classification and disposal.

Tesla has not yet commented on the lawsuit and allegations.

Environmental policy expert Eric Roesch told CNBC, one of the leading media outlets in the US, about the case:

In a complex facility like a car factory, you might expect occasional violations. But according to this complaint, Tesla fails to do even basic things that anyone working in an auto repair shop should do, such as classifying and inspecting substances that can enter groundwater, such as used oil, batteries and paint.

Musk had moved the company’s headquarters in Palo Alto to Texas in 2021, reacting to tax practices in the state of California. Among the facilities allegedly in violation of the law is the company’s first electric car production factory in Fremont, California.

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According to UK-based news agency Reuters, Tesla could be fined up to $70,000 for each day of violations of hazardous waste rules under California state law.

In 2022, Tesla reached a settlement with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and paid a penalty of 275 thousand dollars in a lawsuit filed on the grounds that it did not take measures against air pollution caused by paint materials at the factory in Fremont.

The company was also sued in 2019 for non-compliance with hazardous waste laws at the same facility. As part of a settlement with the EPA, the company paid a fine of $31,000 and pledged to take the necessary steps to comply with the law at the facilities.

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