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Tesla Sued Over Alleged Air Pollution At Fremont Factory

Tesla factory plant

Tesla is being sued by the nonprofit Environmental Democracy Project for alleged “ongoing failure to comply with the Clean Air Act.”

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in San Francisco, claims the electric vehicle maker’s assembly plant in Fremont, California, has caused air pollution.

Tesla has been accused of repeatedly failing to comply with air quality standards.

It is also accused of emitting harmful pollutants into the surrounding neighborhoods since January 2021.

Despite Tesla's promotion of the environmental benefits of electric vehicles (EVs), environmentalists have criticized its manufacturing processes.

Tesla was ranked 89th on the 2023 Toxic 100 Air Polluters list.

This was compiled by the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

In 2022, the Environmental Protection Agency fined Tesla $275,000 for failing to properly measure, track, and minimize emissions from its painting operations at the Fremont facility.

Tesla faces numerous environmental lawsuits

Earlier this year, Tesla also faced legal action from 25 California counties over its handling of hazardous waste materials at various facilities, which was quickly settled.

In Germany, Tesla has also encountered protests over its deforestation efforts to construct a factory near Berlin and its water consumption practices.

The latest lawsuit in California highlights the "ongoing" nature of Tesla's environmental violations.

The lawsuit claims residents and employees near the Fremont plant have been exposed to high levels of air pollution, including nitrogen oxides, arsenic, cadmium, and other harmful chemicals.

Tesla has not yet responded to the allegations.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has also accused Tesla of allowing "unabated emissions" in Fremont.

Since 2019, Tesla has received 112 violation notices.

The agency is now seeking an abatement order to compel the company to make necessary changes to its factory operations.

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The regulator emphasized these violations are frequent and pose risks to public health and the environment.

Regulators say air pollution from the Fremont plant often results from equipment malfunctions that release emissions without proper filtration.

There have also been cases where Tesla employees or contractors allegedly disabled air pollution controls when encountering issues with other paint shop equipment.

The paint shop has a history of fires.

It is a critical area where vehicle bodies are primed, painted, and coated before final assembly.

In its recent quarterly report, Tesla reiterated its mission to "accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy."

Tesla is moving toward AI

However, CEO Elon Musk has been shifting the company's focus towards artificial intelligence.

This includes self-driving technology, robotaxis, and humanoid robots, rather than solely concentrating on electric vehicles and solar energy products.

Musk recently described climate activists as "communists" and shared mocking memes targeting them on social media platform X.

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