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Tesla to Pay $1 Million to Settle Air Quality Violations

May 11, 2021
A regional agency says the electric automaker failed to conduct required emissions testing, among other violations.

Tesla, Inc., has agreed to pay up in order to settle 33 notices of air quality violations, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District announced late last week. The electric car company will pay penalties valued at more than $1 million to compensate for the violations, which relate to operations at Tesla’s manufacturing plant in Fremont, California.

According to the BAAMQD, Tesla’s Fremont location received 33 notices of violation, including emissions exceeding Tesla’s permitted limits, installing or modifying equipment without proper permits, and failure to test, record and report emissions tests to the Air District in a timely manner.

The settlement, according to Air District executive Officer Jack Broadbent, “demonstrates the Air District’s continuing efforts to ensure strict compliance with air pollution regulations while seeking mutually beneficial solutions for the community.”

As part of its payments, Tesla will pay to install a 160 kilowatt solar panel microgrid in the Bay Area. The microgrid project, said Broadbent, will “leverage the company’s technological expertise in developing next generation power here in the Bay Area.” The Air District said the solar panels would be located in one of a number of local communities designated as heavily impacted by pollution.

According to Business Journal, Tesla will pay $750,000 in cash on the penalties and invest $250,000 on the solar microgrid. Tesla has previously paid smaller air quality control fines in 2018 for malfunctioning burners at the Fremont plant, which the company said at the time were holdovers from when the facility was owned by a joint venture between General Motors and Toyota.

The auto manufacturer is currently in compliance, said Broadbent, and it’s working on implementing a new environmental management system designed to keep it from running afoul of standards in the future.

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