Tesla settled with the Environmental Protection Agency for hazardous waste violations that were discovered at the company’s factory in Fremont, California. Tesla agreed to pay a fine of $ 31,000 and, as part of the settlement, will also purchase emergency response equipment worth $ 55,000 for the Fremont Fire Department.
In 2017, Tesla allowed hazardous waste to accumulate at the site without a permit beyond the 90 days allowed, according to the agreement (see below), a copy of which was provided to The edge by the EPA. The EPA found that Tesla did not “promptly clean up flammable paint or solvent mixtures,” left two 55-gallon hazardous waste containers open with “no gasket or locking mechanism,” and violated air emission standards for three lines. Leaky transmission that debris moved through
EPA found these violations during two “unannounced inspections” conducted with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) at the Fremont factory in Tesla in November and December 2017. The agencies filed multiple reports. Violations of the Federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), a set of regulations written in 1976 that give the agency “the authority to control hazardous waste from ‘cradle to grave'” , according to the EPA website.
Tesla failed to comply with RCRA regulations in three ways, according to the EPA. The agency says Tesla: failed to meet air emission standards for equipment leaks, failed to meet management requirements for hazardous waste generators, and failed to make a proper hazardous waste determination for certain solid wastes generated at the facility. The EPA did not specifically say how Tesla failed to comply with regulations in each of these capabilities. The Fremont Fire Department, DTSC and BAAQMD did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Tesla said in an email to The edge You have addressed all the issues raised by the inspections. “In the 16 months since the visit to the EPA, Tesla has made great strides in its environmental program and its continued compliance under Laurie Shelby, our vice president for environment, health and safety,” said a company spokesperson. “We are pleased to have worked collaboratively with EPA Region 9 and we are particularly proud that the City of Fremont benefits from the agreed settlement.”
Tesla says it has already complied with the changes required by the 2017 inspection
This is not the first time the EPA has fined Tesla. The company had to pay a $ 275,000 fine as part of a 2010 settlement after failing to obtain proper certification for the original Tesla Roadster. Tesla also paid a BAAQMD fine of $ 139,500 in 2018 for contamination coming from the Fremont factory.
Tesla has had other environmental, health and safety problems in the past as well. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal-OSHA) imposed a fine of $ 71,000 in 2013 after three employees were burned with molten aluminum. Cal-OSHA also fined Tesla $ 29,365 earlier this year for safety hazards discovered in the exterior tent the company built in 2018, which is where the Model 3s are assembled, and the workplace safety agency. has other open investigations.
The Center for Investigative Reporting has published multiple investigative reports documenting allegations of lax safety standards and unreported injuries. Four unnamed employees also said Bloomberg In 2018 (during some of the most crucial months of the Model 3 production ramp), managers instructed them to walk through sewage on the factory floor. In each case, Tesla said it was not aware of the allegations, or that it dismissed them entirely.
Update April 1, 8:30 PM ET: Added information from the settlement agreement provided by EPA.