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Tesla pause German gigafactory construction after environmentalists protest cutting trees

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  • Tesla pause German gigafactory construction after environmentalists protest cutting trees



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    A German court has forced Tesla to temporarily halt preparation work for its Gigafactory near Berlin after local activists raised concerns about its impact on wildlife and water supplies, Reuters reports. The electric car company is currently in the process of clearing 92 hectares of forest in Gruenheide, east of Berlin, where it hopes to build its first European Gigafactory.






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    Tesla announced plans for Gigafactory 4 last November, but has not yet been granted official planning permission for the factory itself. However, Germany’s environment ministry told the company it could start preparing the site in advance “at its own risk,” according to BBC News. Local activist group Gruene Liga Brandenburg (Green League of Brandenburg) subsequently complained about the work, citing environmental concerns.






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    Since Tesla was due to complete its tree-felling in just three more days, the court told the car company to temporarily stop the work so that the environmentalist group’s objections could be considered. “It should not be assumed that the motion seeking legal protection brought by the Green League lacks any chance of succeeding,” the court said in a statement justifying the stoppage, according to Reuters. Further court hearings are expected to take place this week.






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    Reuters notes that hundreds of demonstrators have protested over the factory and its impact on the environment. However lawmakers from two Germany political parties, the Christian Democrat and Free Democrat parties fear that the legal battles resulting from these environmental complaints could harm Germany’s pro-business credentials. Tesla is not the only large company to have faced difficulties in the country. Back in 2018, Google abandoned plans to launch a start-up incubator in Berlin’s Kreuzberg neighborhood after locals protested the impending corporate gentrification.






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    The company’s CEO Elon Musk has also defended the factory’s impact on the environment. In a series of tweets, Musk claimed that the Gigafactory 4 won’t use much water on a daily basis, and that the forest being cleared is “not a natural forest” (it was planted for a cardboard factory) and that only a small part will be used for the Gigafactory. “Giga Berlin will build sustainable energy vehicles using sustainable energy, so net environmental impact will be extremely positive!” the CEO tweeted.






    Source: https://www.theverge.com/2020/2/17/2...-protest-pause




     




    Pretty ironic that tesla is being stopped for environmental concerns when one of the selling points for their cars is that they are better for the environment. But if Musk is right that it's not a natural forest then I don't see a big problem with clearing part of it. 



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