Irony alert: Solyndra abandoning its toxic waste
Sometimes, ironic juxtaposition happens naturally in the news without any effort from the reporter.
Try this one on: Green company touted by Obama as the future of clean energy goes bankrupt, wastes half a billion taxpayer dollars, and then tries to dodge its responsibilities to clean up its own toxic waste.
Three months ago, CBS 5 caught Solyndra tossing millions of dollars worth of brand new glass tubes used to make solar panels. Now the bankrupt solar firm, once touted as a symbol of green technology, may be trying to abandon toxic waste.
It's a tedious process. Slowly but surely, the shattered remains of brand new solar panel tubes head to a recycling plant in Hayward.
Meanwhile the next phase of the company's liquidation is under way. It involves getting rid of all the heavy metals left inside the building that were used to make the panels.
Swardenski told CBS 5 the disposal process is going smoothly in Fremont, but what about nearby Milpitas? Solyndra leased a building on California Circle for the final assembly of its solar panels. But the cleanup at the leased building in Milpitas is in limbo, because Solyndra doesn't want to pay.
CBS 5 found the building locked up, with no one around. At the back, a hazardous storage area was found. There were discarded buckets half filled with liquids and barrels labeled "hazardous waste."
The building's owner, a company called iStar, claimed in court documents, "there may be serious environmental, health and safety issues" at the premises. According to the documents, they include, "numerous containers of solvents and chemicals...and processing equipment contaminated with lead."
"Essentially it looks like they left a pretty big mess behind," San Jose State Assistant Professor Dustin Mulvaney told CBS 5. Mulvaney has written a white paper (.pdf) on solar industry waste for the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition.
As they say, you can't make this stuff up.
The toxic waste that is produced from manufacturing solar cells has been a problem in the industry for years. Its one of those little secrets the greenies don't want out in the open. This report offers some good background on the problem as well as a warning to China that its own manufacturing process is poisoning the population around their factories.