Tesla reached an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency for hazardous waste violations that were discovered at the company's Fremont, California factory. Tesla agreed to pay a $ 31,000 fine and, as part of the agreement, will also purchase $ 55,000 emergency response equipment for the Fremont Fire Department.
The EPA says it conducted "unannounced inspections" in conjunction with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) at the Bay Area Factory. Fremont at Tesla in 2017. The agencies filed multiple violations of the Federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), a set of regulations drafted in 1976 that give the agency "the authority to control the hazardous waste from "cradle to grave", according to the EPA website.
Tesla did not comply with RCRA regulations in three ways, according to the EPA. The agency says that Tesla: did not meet the air emission standards for equipment leaks, did not comply with the management requirements for hazardous waste generators and did not make an adequate determination of hazardous waste for certain solid waste generated at the facility. The EPA did not say specifically how Tesla did not comply with the regulations in each of these capacities. The Fremont Fire Department, DTSC and BAAQMD did not respond immediately to requests for comment.
Tesla said in an email to The Verge that he has addressed all the issues raised by the inspections. "In the 16 months after the EPA visit, Tesla has made great strides in its environmental program and its continued compliance under Laurie Shelby, our vice president of environment, health and safety," said a company spokesperson. "We are pleased to have worked collaboratively with EPA Region 9 and are particularly proud that the City of Fremont benefits from the agreed-upon agreement."
This is not the first time that Tesla has been fined by the EPA. The company had to pay a fine of $ 275,000 as part of a 2010 agreement after failing to obtain proper certification for the original Tesla Roadster. Tesla also paid a BAAQMD fine of $ 139,500 in 2018 for pollution from the Fremont factory.
Tesla has also clashed with other government agencies. 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 the security risks discovered in the outdoor tent that the company built in 2018, which is where the 3 models are assembled, and the security agency in place. work has other investigations open.
Tesla has also been criticized repeatedly for his work safety practices. The Center for Investigative Reporting has published multiple investigative reports documenting allegations of lax safety standards and unreported injuries. Four unidentified employees also told Bloomberg in 2018 (during some of the most crucial months of the Model 3 production ramp) that managers instructed them to walk through the wastewater on the floor of the factory. In each case, Tesla said he was not aware of the allegations, or dismissed them completely.