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Tesla sued over air pollution from Fremont factory operations

Tesla is accused of violating federal air standards at its Fremont factory, according to a lawsuit filed by an East Bay nonprofit.

Oakland-based Environmental Democracy Project claims Tesla is hurting the environment in Fremont by violating the Clean Air Act. A complaint filed by the group said “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.”

“For years now, Tesla has been violating the Clean Air Act while only getting small slaps on the wrist from the various regulators,” Environmental Democracy Project Executive Director Tanya Boyce said.

Boyce also claims the two areas of the factory where cars are painted are the main sources of Tesla’s violations.

“We have members who live within a mile or so of the facility, who have smelled the air and seen affects to their own breathing that they believe are associated with the violations,” Boyce said.

Some residents who live in the area near the Fremont facility said they have not noticed any polluting and call the allegations concerning.

“As an automobile company they should really be good to the environment,” Fremont resident Prithvi said. “If something’s affecting the air they definitely should take action.”

Earlier this month, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District accused Tesla of allowing “unabated emissions” in Fremont. The district is not involved in the new lawsuit.

The agency said Tesla has received 112 violation notices in the past five years. It is now seeking an abatement order that would force the company to implement changes at the Fremont plant.

NBC Bay Area reached out to Tesla for comment on the lawsuit, but did not hear back.

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