Tesla Bay Area plant ordered to stop spewing toxic emissions

Tesla must fix air quality problems at its electric vehicle manufacturing facility in the San Francisco Bay Area after racking up more than 100 violations for allegedly releasing toxic emissions into the atmosphere over the last five years, an air quality board said Tuesday.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District planned to issue a written abatement order later this week after Tuesday’s announcement. Each of the 112 violations can emit hundreds of pounds of illegal air pollution, the board said.

The plant is in the city of Fremont, in the East Bay, and the agency’s independent hearing board pointed to the facility’s paint shop operations as a specific problem. The board has ordered Tesla to hire an independent consultant and develop a proposed implementation plan for approval, which it then must execute to stop the toxic emissions.

Tesla’s ongoing violations at their Fremont facility pose a risk to public health and air quality in the surrounding community,” Philip Fine, executive officer of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, said in a news release. “This order is crucial to ensure that Tesla takes prompt and effective action to stop harmful emissions and comply with all air quality regulations to protect the health of those living near the facility.”

Tesla’s public relations department did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

The board’s announcement came as Tesla is recalling its futuristic new Cybertruck pickup for the fourth time in the U.S. to fix problems with trim pieces that can come loose and front windshield wipers that can fail.

In February, a California judge ordered the company to pay $1.5 million as part of a settlement of a civil case alleging the company mishandled hazardous waste at its car service centers, energy centers and a factory.

The complaint filed in San Joaquin County alleged illegal disposal of hazardous waste and violation of laws involving the storage and management of the waste. Prosecutors said Tesla cooperated with the investigation and acted to improve compliance with laws that were brought to its attention by the prosecutors.

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