Bay Area/ Oakland/ Crime & Emergencies
AI Assisted Icon
Published on May 17, 2024
Tesla Facing Accusations of Air Pollution Violations at Fremont Factory by Environmental GroupSource: Google Street View

Electric vehicle titan Tesla is in legal hot water once again, this time slapped with allegations of air pollution at its Fremont factory, according to a lawsuit from the Environmental Democracy Project. Citing violations of the Clean Air Act, the Oakland-based nonprofit is taking aim at the car manufacturer, accusing it of spewing harmful chemicals into the surrounding area.

The group, which holds sway in the East Bay community, claimed, "Tesla has exposed residents and workers in the area surrounding the Fremont factory to excess amounts of air pollution, including nitrogen oxides, arsenic, cadmium, and other harmful chemicals." This troubling charge, which was also outlined in an NBC Bay Area report, adds another layer to the already thickening plot surrounding Tesla's environmental record.

According to the Environmental Democracy Project, Tanya Boyce, the executive director, asserted the severity of the situation, "For years now, Tesla has been violating the Clean Air Act while only getting small slaps on the wrist from the various regulators," casting doubt on if the appropriate level of regulatory attention is being afforded to the car giant. The lawsuit zeroes in on the factory's paint operations as the primary culprit in this saga of pollution.

Residents nearby the Fremont facility have mixed reactions, with some, like local Prithvi, who spoke in an NBC Bay Area interview, vocalizing their concerns, "As an automobile company they should really be good to the environment, If something’s affecting the air they definitely should take action." Despite these charges and the community's mixed sentiments, Tesla has yet to publicly respond to the lawsuit.

Fanning the flames, earlier in May, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District leveled its own accusations against Tesla – for "unabated emissions" at the factory – though the district is not involved in this current legal tangle. In the past five years, Tesla's Fremont plant has racked up 112 violation notices, according to a NBC Bay Area report, raising red flags about both the frequency and nature of the reported infractions.

The legal action by the Environmental Democracy Project, as SFGATE explains, hinges on a recent finding by the regional regulator which has spotlighted Tesla's repeat offenses with regard to air quality rules in California—clearly, a problem that isn't going away quietly into the twilight. The complaint calls for an injunction to prevent further violations, urging the court to make Tesla pay civil penalties for the damage done.