Eight Bay Area counties sue Tesla, claiming it illegally dumped hazardous waste from Fremont plant, other facilities

Eight Bay Area counties sue Tesla, claiming it illegally dumped hazardous waste from Fremont plant, other facilities

Eight Bay Area counties claim in a new lawsuit that electric carmaker Tesla illegally dumped hazardous waste produced in its Fremont factory and its auto service centers around the region.

District Attorneys in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma counties along with 17 other California DAs filed suit in San Joaquin County Superior Court this week, alleging the company led by CEO Elon Musk — who is notoriously defiant of regulations — broke a host of laws on labeling, transportation and disposal of toxic materials.

The lawsuit, which singles out the Fremont factory for its generation of painting byproducts and potentially toxic spatter from welding car panels, states that Tesla handles, stores, transports, stores and disposes of used batteries and lubricating oils, brake fluids, lead-acid batteries, aerosols, antifreeze, cleaning fluids, propane, paint, acetone, liquified petroleum gas, glues and diesel fuel.

The company broke state health-and-safety law by dumping toxic materials in trash receptacles at its facilities, and possibly “caused the disposal of hazardous waste at a transfer station or landfill that is not permitted to accept hazardous waste,” the lawsuit alleged.

Tesla also broke a state regulation by not properly labeling and storing tanks and containers of toxic waste, and illegally transporting such materials, the lawsuit filed Tuesday claimed.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Related Articles

Technology |

Elon Musk moves ahead with plan to shift Tesla domicile to Texas

Technology |

Who can rein in Elon Musk? Someone you’ve probably never heard of

Technology |

Judge strikes down Elon Musk’s massive Tesla pay package

Technology |

Tesla recalling nearly 200,000 vehicles because software glitch can cause backup camera to go dark

Technology |

Elon Musk visits Auschwitz after uproar over antisemitic messages on X

The company allegedly also produced toxic waste at 20 of its service centers in Bay Area cities including San Jose, Gilroy, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto, Berkeley, Dublin, Fremont, Burlingame, San Francisco and San Rafael.

Musk, Tesla’s combative chief executive, has expressed hostility toward regulators, and Tesla has a history of defying and breaking laws and regulations.

In 2018, Musk agreed to pay a $20 million fine to settle a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charge that he misled investors with a tweet about taking Tesla private — then he lashed out on Twitter to mock the SEC. Tesla at the start of the COVID pandemic kept the Fremont plant running for nearly a week in violation of a public health order, with Musk tweeting that an “ignorant” Alameda County health officer was violating “our Constitutional freedoms.”

Tesla, according to several lawsuits it’s currently fighting, allowed racist graffiti and swastikas to remain on walls in its facilities without taking action, and Black workers have alleged long-running racist abuse by non-Black colleagues.

In 2022, Tesla agreed to pay $275,000 for breaking federal air quality laws at the Fremont factory over a three-year period. In 2021, the company was fined $750,000 in a settlement with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District for committing 33 air quality violations since 2015. In 2019, the company agreed to a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to pay a $31,000 penalty over hazardous waste violations at the Fremont factory.

The 25 DAs suing Tesla are seeking a fine of an unspecified amount, and a court order banning the company from breaking hazardous-waste laws.