Electric carmaker Tesla will pay a $31,000 fine and spend a total of $86,000, as part of a settlement with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over hazardous waste violations at its California base.
Apart from the penalty, Elon Musk’s company – with revenues exceeding $21.4 billion – is obliged to purchase $55,000 in emergency response equipment for the City of Fremont Fire Department, the EPA said in a statement on Monday. The agency added that the move can help to improve the department’s ability to respond to hazardous materials incidents.
The settlement relates to the unannounced inspections of Tesla’s factory in Fremont, California in 2017. The checks showed that Tesla violated the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulations, as it had failed to comply with air emissions standards for equipment leaks and management requirements for generators of hazardous wastes. At the same time, the facility failed to make an adequate hazardous waste determination for certain solid waste it generated.
The carmaker has since addressed all the identified violations and delivered hazardous waste training to over 1,100 staff at the plant according to the EPA. The company itself said, as cited by media, that since the 2017 inspections “all gaps identified in the inspection have been resolved by Tesla.”
Tesla’s factory in Fremont has long been under scrutiny over working conditions and safety protocols. The facility faced an investigation after claims of unreported injuries emerged last year, when the company was struggling to hit the target production of its Model 3 electric car.
In early March, a review by Forbes found 24 investigations by California regulators from 2014 to 2018, resulting in fines for 54 violations. The penalties reportedly nearly double Tesla’s fines over the last five years, to $236,730.