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Tesla settles with EPA over Clean Air Act violations in California

Started by sushmi, Feb 24, 2022, 12:15 PM

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Tesla settles with EPA over Clean Air Act violations in California

The US Environmental Protection Agency has reached a settlement with Tesla after the agency found that the automaker violated the Clean Air Act at its factory in Fremont, California. In particular, the EPA determined that Tesla violated the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Surface Coating of Automobiles and Light-Duty Trucks from October 2016 to September 2019.

Tesla, the EPA said, failed to develop and implement a work practice plan to minimize air pollutants emissions from the storage and mixing of materials used in vehicle coating. It also failed to correctly perform the monthly calculations needed to prove that its coating operations complied with the federal standards for hazardous air pollutants. Finally, Tesla apparently failed to keep required records of the calculations for its air pollutants emissions rate. "People living in communities that are near sources of hazardous air pollutants may face significant risks to their health and environment," the agency wrote in its announcement.

According to CNBC, the paint shop at Tesla's factory in Fremont suffered several fires within that period. The news organizations talked to employees back in 2018 who claimed that the company pushed to hit production goals at the expense of fire and environmental considerations. (If you'll recall, Tesla was struggling to hit Model 3 production goals at the time.) Those employees claimed that months before a fire in April that year, the shop's sprinkler heads were clogged and were coated with at least an inch of thick paint. Exhaust systems that were supposed to carry clean air in and out of the building were allegedly coated with thick paint, as well.

"Today's enforcement action against Tesla reflects EPA's continued commitment to ensure compliance with federal clean air laws," EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman said in a statement. Tesla will only have to $275,000 to settle its violations, however, which is a drop in the ocean for a company that reported a $5.5 billion in net income last year.