A consortium of 25 California counties, including Los Angeles, Alameda, San Joaquin, and San Francisco, has filed a lawsuit against Tesla, led by CEO Elon Musk, alleging the mishandling of hazardous waste at the company's facilities across the state. The legal action, initiated on Tuesday in California state court, seeks civil penalties and an injunction compelling Tesla to appropriately manage its waste in the future.
As of now, Tesla has not responded to requests for comment on the lawsuit. The counties claim that Tesla violated state unfair business and hazardous waste management laws by inaccurately labeling waste and disposing of materials in landfills not equipped to handle hazardous substances. California's hazardous waste management law imposes potential civil penalties of up to $70,000 per violation per day.
The hazardous waste in question, according to the counties, includes paint materials, brake fluids, used batteries, antifreeze, and diesel fuel. Alleged violations span across approximately 101 facilities, encompassing Tesla's manufacturing plant in Fremont.
Details about the case were not immediately provided by spokespersons for the counties involved. This legal action is not the first time Tesla has faced allegations related to hazardous waste management practices. In 2019, the company settled with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over federal hazardous waste violations at its Fremont plant, agreeing to manage waste properly and paying a $31,000 fine.
In a subsequent agreement with the EPA in 2022, Tesla agreed to a $275,000 penalty after the federal agency cited the company for failing to maintain records and implement plans to minimize air pollutants from painting operations at the Fremont facility.