Tesla sued by California counties over hazardous waste

By Clark Mindock

(Reuters) – A group of 25 California counties have sued Elon Musk’s Tesla, claiming the electric vehicle maker mismanaged hazardous waste at its facilities across the state.

The lawsuit from Los Angeles, Alameda, San Joaquin, San Francisco and other counties was filed in California state court on Tuesday. It seeks civil penalties and an injunction that would require the company to properly handle its waste in the future.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The counties accused Tesla of violating state unfair trade and hazardous waste management laws by improperly labeling the waste and sending the material to landfills that do not accept hazardous materials. California’s Hazardous Waste Management Law carries potential civil penalties of up to $70,000 per day per violation.

Counties said waste produced or handled at the facilities includes paint materials, brake fluid, used batteries, antifreeze and diesel fuel.

The lawsuit claims violations occurred at 101 facilities, including Tesla’s manufacturing plant in Fremont.

County spokespeople did not immediately provide additional details about the case.

The lawsuit is not the first time Tesla has faced allegations related to its hazardous waste management practices.

The company reached a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2019 over alleged federal hazardous waste violations at its Fremont plant. In that deal, Tesla agreed to take steps to properly manage waste at the facility and pay a $31,000 fine.

Tesla later reached a settlement with the EPA in 2022, agreeing to pay a $275,000 fine after the federal agency said the company failed to implement plans to reduce air pollutants from record-keeping and painting. Hui…

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