Tesla accused of violating environmental regulations in US and Germany

Tesla accused of violating environmental regulations in US and Germany
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Tesla defended itself in a Wednesday filing against U.S. and German complaints. American regulators said the automaker has not proved its compliance with environmental regulations and German officials accused it of not taking back customer batteries.

In the filing, the company said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is demanding further details about operations at its Fremont, Calif., plant’s paint facility. The agency said Tesla had not properly documented that its surface coating process for vehicles complies with federal standards governing hazardous air pollutants.

In the filing, the company said it “has responded to all information requests from the EPA and refutes the allegations. While the outcome of this matter cannot be determined at this time, it is not currently expected to have a material adverse impact on our business.”


The EPA allegations follow similar allegations about air quality at the Fremont facility filed by state authorities. Employees previously told CNBC in 2019 that the factory has in some cases conducted paint retouching in an open-air tent without full automation, where they were exposed to extreme cold and, during the 2018 wildfire season, smoke-filled air.

Separately, the filing said German authorities levied a fine of 12 million euros, alleging Tesla violated regulations requiring electric automakers to take back and properly dispose of batteries. Tesla said in the filing that it has “continued to take back battery packs” and said the issue was “primarily relating to administrative requirements.” The automaker said it has filed an objection to the fine but said it does not expect the German action to have a material adverse effect on its business.

The filing comes a day after Tesla says it has told German officials it is seeking to build a battery cell production facility at its under construction German plant, according to CNBC.

Asked for comment, an EPA spokesperson told The Hill the agency does not comment on enforcement matters.
Updated at 2:03 p.m.