Elon Musk's Super-Green Hawthorne Company SpaceX Gets $45,600 EPA Fine For Mishandling Hazardous Materials

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Fri, Oct 1, 2010 at 12:58 PM
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We couldn't make this stuff up if we tried: Elon Musk, the love-him, hate-him chief of electric-car company Tesla Motors -- the Bay Area automaker with the green-friendly halo over its head -- is also the leader of a Hawthorne company that just received a slap on the wrist by federal officials for ... violations against the environment.

SpaceX, the Bel Air resident's space transport company, was found to have been dumping mishandling and storing hazardous materials in violation of federal law. The feds announced Friday that Musk's other child is being fined $45,600.

What did it do? Move the kids out of the room for this:

SpaceX was found to be improperly storing or disposing of ...

-Isopropyl alcohol!


-Acid etch corrosive waste!

-Rags with chromium on them!

Eh. This is all stuff you'd find in your local grease monkey's garage. It's not that bad. In fact, we talked to they Environmental Protection Agency inspector who visited SpaceX, and he wasn't horrified by what he saw. (Sorry Elon haters).

"I would say there was nothing egregious, as in nothing was spilled on the ground," said U.S. EPA enforcement officer James Polek. "The manufacturing facility is very well organized. The hazardous waste storage are was not."


What's more the inspection took place last year and the company already corrected the violations, Polek told the Weekly.

Canned quote alert:

"High tech stature does not preclude innovative firms from complying with federal environmental laws that protect their employees, the surrounding community and the environment,"said EPA regional dude Jared Blumenfeld. "SpaceX, like any other manufacturer, will be held accountable for improper storage and handling of the hazardous waste it generates."

In other words, just because Elon Musk is like the cool guy with all the enviro-celebs (we're looking at you Arianna Huffington and of course you Ed Begley, Jr.), he's not getting a pass here for his dirty rags.

So any New Yorker, Vanity Fair or GQ writers out there looking for dirt for their next Elon Musk profile can put that in their clip files.

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