Tesla has agreed to a $1.5 million settlement to resolve a California lawsuit alleging improper hazardous waste management at its facilities.
The suit was filed by 25 counties across the state last week, claiming Tesla unlawfully dumped toxic materials like batteries, solvents, and electronic waste at local landfills and transfer stations over several years.
As part of the swift settlement announced yesterday (Feb 1) by the San Francisco District Attorney’s office, Tesla has agreed to appoint third-party auditors to inspect its trash containers for hazardous waste over the next five years. The company will also strengthen internal procedures to comply with state environmental laws regarding waste transport, storage, labeling, and disposal.
The lawsuit follows prior violations cited by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2019, for which Tesla paid a small fine and pledged improvements at its Fremont factory. However, investigations by undercover officers in recent years revealed continued issues with improperly labeled and handled dangerous waste.
District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said the new “settlement against Tesla, Inc. serves to provide a cleaner environment for citizens throughout the state by preventing the contamination of our precious natural resources when hazardous waste is mismanaged and unlawfully disposed.”
After being made aware of the hazardous waste issues through the District Attorney’s investigation, Tesla took steps to improve its compliance with the relevant environmental protection laws. Specifically, the company instituted new procedures across all of its service centers to quarantine and screen trash containers for hazardous materials.
Earlier this week Tesla, or at least its CEO Elon Musk, had a run-in with another state’s judiciary. A Deleware judge rejected a deal that would allow Musk to receive a $56 billion pay package.
Judge Kathaleen McCormick in Delaware called the compensation an “unfathomable sum,” ruling that he “failed” to prove that it was fair. The billionaire responded by announcing he planned to move Tesla’s legal headquarters to Texas.
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