Pacific Swell

Southern California environment news and trends

California toxic regulators sue FedEx over handling of hazardous shipments

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State regulators have sued FedEx Ground, claiming the company mishandled hazardous chemicals at facilities throughout California during the last 5 years.  

An investigation into a fire four years ago in San Diego prompted a wider inquiry into how FedEx handles restricted chemicals in statewide shipping at all of its facilities.

Regulators claim FedEx didn’t handle thousands of damaged and hazardous packages properly. The state’s complaint claims FedEx would remove damaged packages from shipping and store them for lengthy periods of time in salvage drums, which were moved from hubs to terminals within the company’s network of facilities.  

These packages contained goods ranging from insecticides and acids to old batteries and other flammable and toxic materials – pretty small shipments, less than 65 pounds, but investigators say they’ve found problems with more than 20 tons of goods shipped over a 5-year period.

Each violation alleged in the state’s lawsuit carries a penalty of up to 25-thousand dollars. In a written statement, FedEx spokeswoman Katie Wassmer says the company "complies with all applicable local, state and federal reporting requirements." 

The state-court complaint is the latest legal salvo in a dispute among California and local officials and FedEx.

Earlier this spring, FedEx sued the DTSC and district attorneys from three cities, including Los Angeles, seeking a declaration that federal law pre-empts California's waste handling laws, and that state officials are incorrectly interpreting laws governing FedEx. 

"To preserve our rights as a federally-registered motor carrier, FedEx Ground filed suit in federal court" said Wassmer. "We are confident that a thorough review of the regulatory framework through the judicial process will support our position."

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