Elon Musk's Tesla Sued by 25 California Counties Over Hazardous Waste

By Jace Dela Cruz

Feb 01, 2024 02:10 AM EST

Elon Musk's electric car company, Tesla, was sued by a group of 25 California counties, including Los Angeles, Alameda, San Joaquin, and San Francisco, for allegedly mishandling hazardous waste at its facilities across the state.

According to The Guardian, the lawsuit, filed on Tuesday in California state court, alleged that Tesla violated state unfair business and hazardous waste management laws.

(Photo : SERGEI GAPON/AFP via Getty Images)
X (formerly Twitter) CEO Elon Musk attends a symposium on "Antisemitism Online" during the European Jewish Association conference in Krakow, on January 22, 2024.

Tesla's Alleged Mismanagement of Hazardous Waste in California

The counties accused Tesla of improperly labeling waste and sending the materials to landfills that cannot accept harmful materials.

The group asked the court to impose civil penalties against Tesla and an injunction requiring the company to handle its waste correctly in the future. The hazardous waste management law of California carries civil penalties of up to $70,000 per violation per day. 

Among the hazardous wastes produced or handled at the Tesla facilities cited in the complaint were paint, brake fluids, used batteries, antifreeze, and diesel fuel. The complaint claims violations have occurred in at least 101 facilities, including at the manufacturing plant of Tesla in Fremont.

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Accusations Faced by Tesla

According to Reuters, this is not the first time Tesla has encountered accusations concerning hazardous waste management. 

In 2019, the company resolved allegations with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that it violated federal hazardous waste regulations at its Fremont facility by agreeing to pay a $31,000 fine and take steps to manage waste at the facility properly.

In 2022, Tesla also made another settlement with the EPA, agreeing to pay a $275,000 penalty for failing to keep records and implementing plans to reduce air pollutants from painting operations at the Fremont facility.

Tesla has yet to respond to the legal action taken by the California counties.

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