Tesla sued by 25 California counties over alleged mishandling of hazardous waste

Tesla is facing another legal challenge in California, this time over its handling of hazardous waste. A group of 25 counties has filed a lawsuit against the automaker, alleging it mishandled hazardous materials at their various facilities in the state.

The lawsuit was lodged in a California state court, seeking civil penalties and an injunction demanding Tesla to comply with proper waste management practices in the future.

The counties, including Los Angeles, Alameda, San Joaquin, and San Francisco, have accused Tesla of violating state unfair business and hazardous waste management laws by improperly labeling waste and sending these materials to landfills unequipped to handle hazardous waste, Reuters reports.

The nature of the waste in question includes a range of potentially harmful materials such as paint, brake fluids, used batteries, antifreeze, and diesel fuel. The lawsuit points out that these alleged violations have occurred at up to 101 Tesla facilities, including the company’s primary manufacturing plant in Fremont.

Under California’s hazardous waste management laws, such violations could attract civil penalties as high as $70,000 per violation per day.

This lawsuit is not Tesla’s first encounter with legal issues related to hazardous waste management. In 2019, Tesla settled with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over alleged federal hazardous waste violations at its Fremont plant. The settlement required Tesla to adopt measures for proper waste management and included a $31,000 fine. Then in 2022, Tesla agreed to a $275,000 penalty after the EPA claimed the company failed to maintain records and implement plans to minimize air pollutants from its painting operations at the Fremont facility.

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