25 counties in California are suing Tesla for mishandling hazardous waste.
Reuters reports a lawsuit was filed on Tuesday in a California court against the automaker by counties including Los Angeles County. They’re seeking civil penalties and changes to Tesla’s practices.
The counties allege Tesla violated state unfair business and hazardous waste management laws, improperly labelled waste, and disposed of hazardous waste in landfills not permitted to accept it.
It also allegedly “failed to determine if a waste generated at the facilities was a hazardous waste” and “failed to properly mark, label and store containers and tank of hazardous waste at the facilities” in accordance with the law.
According to the lawsuit, Tesla allegedly also failed to file hazardous waste documents to the Department of Toxic Substances Control, didn’t maintain a hazardous waste manifest, incorrectly segregated incompatible hazardous waste, and didn’t comply with employee training and record-keeping requirements.
The lawsuit claims the type of waste handled or produced at Tesla facilities includes diesel fuel, antifreeze, used batteries, brake fluids, aerosols, cleaning fluids, liquified petrol gas (LPG), adhesives and paint materials.
Under California’s hazardous waste management law, the state can fine offenders up to US$70,000 (A$106,500) per violation per day.
The lawsuit alleges Tesla violated laws at as many as 101 of its facilities including its Fremont plant, which has previously been under fire for illegal waste management.
Tesla didn’t respond to Reuters’ request for comment.
In 2019 Tesla settled with the Environmental Protection Agency after it allegedly violated federal hazardous waste laws at its Fremont, California plant. It agreed to pay a $31,000 fine and take the proper steps to manage waste at the facility.
Later in 2022 it paid another $275,000 penalty to the EPA. This was as a result of failing to implement plans to reduce air pollutants during painting operations, again at its Fremont plant.