The Corner

Solyndra Leaving Mess of Toxic Assets in California

The Washington Times reports:

Federal officials hailed Solyndra LLC’s plan to create clean energy when they awarded the company more than a half-billion dollars in loans, but the solar-panel maker’s abrupt closure now threatens to leave behind an environmental mess.

The company plans on paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to clean up its own property in Fremont, Calif., but a separate leased property in nearby Milpitas sits vacant with barrels of unknown chemicals and lead-contaminated equipment, attorneys for the landlord, iStarCTL I L.P., said in recent bankruptcy court filings.

The full extent of the potential environmental problem at the leased Solyndra facility remains unclear. Officials at iStar say in court papers that they were not given the keys to the premises until this month, though Solyndra stopped making its lease payments in September when it filed for bankruptcy protection in Delaware.

“There may be environmental, health and safety issues and regulatory violations at the premises based on the materials the debtor has left behind, which consist, in part, of open containers of unidentified chemical waste and lead processing machinery,” iStar attorney Karen Bifferato wrote in a recent court filing.

Photographs attached to the iStar court filing provide an inside look at Solyndra’s stripped-down facility after the company hauled away whatever equipment might fetch money at auction.

In one picture, two large blue drums are filled with a black substance with no secure lids and covered instead with clear plastic wrap. Another photograph shows a yellow drum about the size of a large garbage can containing a yellow-brown gooey substance.

Yet another picture shows a large machine with a metallic tube coming from the top and another tube from the side. Both tubes display the words “lead exhaust.” A smaller sign on the front of the machine says “toxic” next to what appears to be a small skull and crossbones. A large structure outside the facility has the words “Argon Refrigerated Liquid” on its side.

Court filings from the landlord also describe a high temperature oven assembly that is connected to an outside collection system, all of which are contaminated with lead.

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