DA AND AG ANNOUNCE 5.5 MILLION SETTLEMENT AGAINST DISH FOR ILLEGAL DISPOSAL OF HAZARDOUS WASTE

OAKLAND – Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley and California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced a settlement with DISH Network California Service Corporation (DISH) for the illegal disposal and mismanagement of hazardous waste.

As part of the settlement, DISH will be required to pay $5.5 million for penalties, costs, supplemental environmental compliance measures and supplemental environmental projects to benefit the community and make significant changes to its operations and practices to come into compliance with state law.

“My Office is committed to holding corporate polluters accountable for violations of state environmental laws,” said DA O’Malley. “Hazardous electronic waste is ubiquitous, and everyone must do their part to keep these items out of the landfill, especially large corporations who handle high volumes of electronic waste.”

If you break the rules, we will hold you accountable,” said Attorney General Bonta. “For years, DISH carelessly disposed of and sent hazardous waste to local landfills, ignoring the consequences for our communities and our environment. From there, hazardous chemical elements from electronic devices, batteries, aerosols, and more could seep into soil and contaminate our environment. Today’s settlement is critical. Large corporations like DISH have a responsibility to respect our environmental laws and do their part to protect our state's precious resources.”

Since 2005, DISH is alleged to have violated California’s environmental laws and regulations by illegally disposing of hazardous waste and sending the hazardous waste to local landfills that are not equipped or authorized to receive this type of waste. Audits of DISH facilities in California over multiple years found that DISH repeatedly disposed of these objects in trash bins destined for municipal landfills in violation of the Hazardous Waste Control Law and Unfair Competition Law.

DISH provides satellite video services to residential and business customers in California. In providing these services, DISH employees manage large volumes of electronic equipment, such as remote controls, transformers, power adapters, various batteries, aerosol cans, and other items classified as hazardous waste.

Today's settlement requires DISH to make significant changes to its operations and practices to come into compliance with state law. Specifically, DISH must:

· Pay $5 million, including $3.32 million in civil penalties, $835,500 in litigation costs, and $845,000 for supplemental environmental projects. DISH must also spend $500,000 to implement enhanced environmental compliance measures to ensure proper management of hazardous waste at its California facilities.

· Hire an independent third-party auditor to perform environmental compliance audits at DISH’s 25 facilities across the state;

· Conduct regular inspections of facility trash dumpsters and roll-off containers to ensure the containers do not contain hazardous waste; and

· Provide training to employees to ensure compliance with California's hazardous waste laws.

Both DA O’Malley and the California Attorney General’s Office have been committed to upholding violations of state environmental laws. The DISH settlement represents the fifth case focused on addressing the unlawful disposal and management of hazardous waste in the telecom industry. Starting in 2014, the two offices have successfully prosecuted AT&T, Comcast, DirecTV, and Cox Communications for similar environmental violations related to illegal disposals of large volumes of electronic waste from their cable and satellite video services. Like the DISH settlement, those cases also resulted in significant civil penalties, as well as court-ordered changes to their business practices and operations to ensure compliance with California’s environmental laws.

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Contact: Public Information Officer Angela Ruggiero // Angela.Ruggiero@acgov.org // (510) 919-0081

Posted on Apr 6, 2022