DirectTV to pay $9.5M for hazardous waste suit, settled in Alameda County Superior Court

Nancy O'Malley.

DirecTV has agreed to pay $9.5 million to settle allegations that its California facilities unlawfully disposed of large volumes of hazardous waste, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley and California Xavier Becerra announced today.
O'Malley and Becerra alleged that DirecTV illegally disposed of hazardous batteries, electronic devices, and aerosols and committed additional violations stemming from the mismanagement of those items.
The prosecutors said DirecTV's actions violated California's Hazardous Waste Control Law and its Unfair Competition Law, which gave DirecTV a competitive advantage over other regulated companies that comply with the law.
An Alameda County Superior Court approved the settlement today, O'Malley and Becerra said.
"Unlawfully disposing of hazardous waste can lead to serious health and environmental risks," Becerra said in a statement.
Becerra said, "That is why District Attorney O'Malley and I are holding DirecTV accountable today. The California Department of Justice will continue working to protect the health and well-being of our communities and will prosecute those who violate our environmental laws."
O'Malley said, "Any company doing business in Alameda County and in California must abide by these laws. The illegal disposal of hazardous waste pollutes our soil and our water and can be harmful to the health of humans as well as the environment."
As part of the settlement, DirecTV will be required to pay more than $8.9 million for civil penalties, costs, and projects furthering environmental protection. It also will be bound by a permanent injunction 
prohibiting similar future violations of law and have to spend more than $580,000 over the next five years to enhance environmental compliance at its California facilities.
In addition, DirecTV will be required to hire an independent auditor to perform three audits of its compliance with the injunctive terms of the judgment.
Becerra and O'Malley said the settlement and final judgment follow an extensive investigation by their offices that included a series of inspections of dumpsters belonging to DirecTV facilities.
The prosecutors allege the inspections revealed that DirecTV was routinely and systematically sending hazardous wastes to local landfills that were not permitted to receive those wastes.
During the time of the investigation, DirecTV operated 25 facilities in California and all of them were unlawfully disposing of hazardous waste, O'Malley and Becerra allege. 
In November 2014, the offices of the Attorney General and the District Attorney resolved a similar action against AT&T through a stipulated final judgment.
The prosecutors said that because DirecTV was acquired by an AT&T affiliate in July 2015, the parties to that settlement have stipulated that the prior AT&T judgment be amended to include terms that apply to DirecTV.
In a statement, AT&T officials said, "We take environmental stewardship seriously. This predates our acquisition of DirecTV and we quickly moved to reach a resolution with the state and Alameda County after the merger was complete in a way that is in the best interests of the environment, our customers and Californians."
AT&T officials added, "The settlement recognizes the company for taking prompt action, dedicating additional resources toward environmental compliance, and improving our hazardous and universal waste management compliance programs."