Dish Network to Pay California $5 Million for Hazardous Waste Violations

Dish Network to Pay California $5 Million for Hazardous Waste Violations

Dish Network agreed to pay more than $3 million in civil penalties and almost $1 million for supplemental environmental projects in the settlement.

In March, Dish Network agreed to a settlement with the state of Colorado over HD fees, which included the satellite broadcaster announcing that it would stop collecting such fees. The company had dropped the fee for new subscribers back in 2015 while continuing to charge it for existing subscribers, and 2,480 were still paying it in that state.

Now, Dish Network has reached another settlement with a state government, although this time it’s not about its practices in dealing directly with subscribers.

The office of California attorney general Rob Bonta announced this week that the state, along with Alameda County district attorney Nancy O’Malley, had reached a settlement with Dish Network for what the prosecutors described as “illegal disposal and mismanagement of hazardous waste.”

Dish agreed to pay $5.5 million for “ penalties, costs, and supplemental environmental projects to benefit the community,” while also agreeing to make “significant changes to its operations and practices.” The attorney general’s office stated that Dish had violated the state’s environmental law going back to 2005. 

“If you break the rules, we will hold you accountable,” Bonta said in a statement. “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.”

The $5.5 million figure includes “$3.32 million in civil penalties, $835,500 in litigation costs, and $845,000 for supplemental environmental projects,” Bonta’s office said. The company has also said it will hire an independent auditor to assure compliance at the company’s twenty-five facilities throughout the state of California. 

“We became aware of this in 2012 and immediately conducted an internal review, implemented additional protocols, and worked with the state of California to ensure we were in compliance with regulations,” Dish Network said in a statement, according to San Francisco-area TV station KPIX. “We have been compliant since the end of 2012. While these issues have been addressed for years, we are pleased to have reached a settlement with the state, particularly one that recognizes our many waste training and management actions that go above-and-beyond the state legal requirements.”

Dish Network has continued to lose subscribers, especially since the start of the pandemic. The service dropped another 595,000 net subscribers in 2021, according to Leichtman Research Group's latest annual report.

Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Image: Reuters.