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Tesla reaches $86K settlement with feds over hazardous waste violations

Palo Alto-based company neglect led Fire Department to spend thousands on a drone for emergency response

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Monday announced an $86,000 settlement with Palo Alto-based Tesla Motor Co. over hazardous waste violations at the company's electric car plant in Fremont.

The violations were discovered during an unannounced visit by inspectors from the agency's regional office in San Francisco in 2017.

The settlement includes a $31,000 fine and a $55,000 payment to the Fremont Fire Department to buy emergency response equipment, including a drone with hazardous waste sensors and a second device to detect unauthorized drones that could impede an emergency response.

Tesla said in a statement that "all gaps identified in the inspection have been resolved by Tesla."

The company said, "Tesla has made great strides in its environmental program since then."

EPA Regional Administrator Mike Stoker said, "It's vital that businesses comply with hazardous waste laws that keep facilities safe for workers and the community. We are pleased that this settlement will bring much needed emergency response equipment to the city of Fremont."

The violations included failing to comply with air emissions standards for equipment leaks; violating management requirements for generators of hazardous wastes; and failing to make an adequate waste determination for certain solid waste generated at the plant, the EPA said.

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