Tuesday, June 25, 2024

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District announced today that the agency’s independent Hearing Board has ordered Tesla to correct air quality violations at its electric vehicle manufacturing facility in Fremont. A written order is expected to be issued this week.

Spare the Air Status

The Air District sought the abatement order to stop frequent and ongoing violations from the paint shop operations at the facility. Tesla has emitted harmful precursor organic compounds and toxic air contaminants directly into the atmosphere without proper abatement, resulting in over 112 Notices of Violation since 2019. Each of these violations can emit hundreds of pounds of illegal air pollution, according to some estimates. The violations are frequent, recurring and can negatively affect public health and the environment.

"Tesla's ongoing violations at their Fremont facility pose a risk to public health and air quality in the surrounding community," said Dr. Philip Fine, executive officer of the Air District. "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.”

The order requires Tesla to implement a plan to address these recurring violations through a twostep process:

  • First, hire a third-party consultant to do an evaluation and make recommendations. Tesla must then develop a proposed implementation plan to implement the recommendations, which it will file with the Hearing Board for approval.
  • Second, execute the implementation plan as approved by the Hearing Board to stop the avoidable release of uncontrolled emissions, except where it may be absolutely necessary for safety reasons.

Tesla’s recurring violations result from a variety of causes. In some cases, Tesla’s thermal oxidizer or related components of the abatement system break down repeatedly and Tesla’s system design causes emissions to automatically be vented directly into the atmosphere without proper abatement as a result, even when abatement can still be done. In other cases, the abatement equipment is functioning properly, but Tesla shuts the abatement system down when there are problems with other equipment in the paint shops. This has happened even when these problems are caused by Tesla staff or its contractors, and unabated emissions are sent into the atmosphere.

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Last Updated: 6/25/2024