AT&T to pay California $52 million in hazardous waste disposal settlement

By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES Fri Nov 21, 2014 12:18 am EST

The AT&T logo is pictured by its store in Carlsbad, California, April 22, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Blake

The AT&T company logo is envisioned by its shop in Carlsbad, America, April 22, 2013.

Credit rating: Reuters/Mike Blake

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – AT&T Inc (T.N) will pay $52 million in civil charges as well as environmental compliance as component of a negotiation with California over illegal disposing of hazardous waste but won’t be called for to tidy up the resulting contamination, state officials stated on Thursday.

State authorities claimed it marked the very first enforcement activity in California against a telecom company for mishandling of digital waste. The settlement has to still be accepted by the Alameda County High court, where it was filed.

Private investigators pointed out AT&T for unlawfully dealing with harmful wastes as well as various other materials at greater than 235 of its storehouses and also dispatch facilities throughout the state over a nine-year duration.

Assessments of garbage dumpsters at those facilities by county district attorneys and also state regulators discovered the company was routinely sending hazardous materials to neighborhood garbage dumps not allowed to get such pollutants.

The wastes in question consisted mostly of disposed of digital devices, electric batteries and also aerosol containers, as well as “specific fluids as well as gels” utilized by AT&T service professionals, the state said in a statement.

“This settlement holds AT&T responsible for unlawfully disposing electronic waste,” state Attorney general of the united states Kamala Harris said.

AT&T admitted no wrongdoing as component of the negotiation, nor is it urged to remove any of the waste it was discovered to have actually discarded illegally, said David Beltran, a representative for Harris.

But the judgment additionally exclusively does not launch AT&T from any type of responsibility for contamination in the occasion the Dallas-based company is called in a claim looking for damages, Beltran said.

AT&T authorities were not promptly available for comment.

Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N) has actually recognized that it was the subject of a similar examination by California earlier this year.

Under the agreement with AT&T, the firm will pay $23.8 million in civil penalties as well as various other costs and also invest $28 million more over the following 5 years to carry out “boosted ecological conformity steps” required by the negotiation, the state said.

Customer proponent Liza Tucker from the not-for-profit Santa Monica-based team Customer Guard dog slammed the settlement as dropping short by not calling for AT&T to carry out an expensive clean-up required to make certain hygienics and deter similar disposing by others.

“They’re being fined what amounts to small potatoes for a firm like AT&T, as well as everyone is not visiting be safeguarded ultimately due to the fact that wherever they’ve unlawfully disposed of that waste, it’s visiting stay there,” she claimed.

(Modifying by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/21/us-usa-at-t-california-idUSKCN0J50AG20141121

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