Tesla and EPA reach settlement after Clean Air Act violations

An aerial view shows cars parked at the Tesla Fremont factory in Fremont, California on February 10, 2022.

Josh Edelson | AFP | Getty Images

Tesla has reached a settlement agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency after regulators determined that Elon Musk’s electric and solar car business violated the Clean Air Act at his Tesla assembly plant. vehicles in Fremont, California.

According to a announcement from the EPA on Tuesday, Tesla will pay a fine of $275,000 — meaningless for a company that reported net income of $2.3 billion in the fourth quarter of 2021.

The EPA said Tesla violated regulations known as the National Hazardous Air Pollutant Emission Standards for Automotive Surface Coating from October 2016 to September 2019 in Fremont.

As CNBC previously reported, the paint shop at Tesla’s Fremont auto plant experienced several fires over those years. In 2018, employees told CNBC that months before a fire in April of that year, filters under paint booths and exhaust systems, intended to clean and transport air to the inside and outside the building, were visibly covered in paint and varnish.

Tuesday’s EPA announcement said Tesla had not “developed and/or implemented a plan of work practices to minimize emissions of hazardous air pollutants from the storage and mixing of materials used in operations.” coating of vehicles”.

Tesla, which markets itself as a “sustainable” company, has also neglected to even measure emissions from its coating operations, and has not collected or kept legally required records associated with its emission rates of hazardous air pollutants. according to the EPA announcement.

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