Tesla Resolves California Hazardous Waste Lawsuit with $1.5 Million Settlement
Just days after being sued by 25 California counties for mishandling hazardous waste, Tesla has already reached a settlement agreement. As part of the $1.5 million settlement, the automaker must hire third-party auditors to closely inspect its trash containers over the next five years to check for improperly disposed hazardous materials.
The counties, including major hubs like Los Angeles and San Francisco, accused Tesla of illegally dumping hazardous waste generated from manufacturing and servicing its vehicles. The materials were allegedly not properly labeled and sent to transfer stations and landfills not certified to accept them.
The first evidence was uncovered in 2018 by undercover investigators from the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office. They found materials like aerosols, antifreeze, used batteries and solvents in Tesla service center trash containers, violating regulations. Further investigations by authorities across California yielded similar findings – unsafe levels of materials like copper and primer-contaminated debris.
Tesla previously reached a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency in 2019 over waste issues at its Fremont factory. As part of the $31,000 settlement, Tesla was required to better manage hazardous materials and screen waste containers before disposal. However, as District Attorney Brooke Jenkins stated, “today’s settlement serves to provide a cleaner environment by preventing contamination when hazardous waste is mismanaged.”
Regular independent audits over the next five years will ensure Tesla complies with proper procedures for identifying and disposing of hazardous waste. With intense scrutiny from both regulatory agencies and local counties, the company faces major fines or additional legal action if it fails to meet environmental standards moving forward. Comprehensive third-party oversight aims to guarantee enhanced accountability and compliance.