Tesla's Gigafactory endangers our water and ecological resources

13 August 2021,

At a rally at the Brandenburg Gate, activists from the Wassertafel Berlin-Brandenburg highlighted the threat Tesla's Gigafactory poses to the water and ecological resources of Berlin-Brandenburg. In addition to the speeches, a performance took place in which the people of Berlin, represented by the Berlin Bear, and Elon Musk, represented by the wolf in sheep's clothing, clashed. The Berlin Bear was particularly concerned about the new 13,600 page (sic!) application for the construction of the electric car factory and the world's largest battery factory in Grünheide. He called on the people of Brandenburg and Berlin to submit their objections to the Brandenburg Environmental Protection Agency (LfU) by 19 August.

Gerlinde Schermer, economist and spokesperson for the Berliner Wassertisch, states in her speech at the Brandenburg Gate: Electric motors, electric mobility and their potential are "glorified", while the problems are concealed or minimised. Tesla in Grünheide means huge water consumption in one of the driest regions in Germany, where the water table has been falling for three years! In a region with the highest risk of forest fires, where several wells and fire-fighting networks will soon be built. Tesla says nothing about the toxins and chemicals used in the factory. All this is not at all possible when taking into account services of general interest! 

Meanwhile, Tesla boss Elon Musk met with Brandenburg's Economics Minister Steinbach and Minister President Woidke on Wednesday evening. Armin Laschet is also planning a tour of the Gigafactory. He and Musk will meet at the Tesla construction site. After Minister Steinbach saw no obstacles to the final approval in principle and Federal Economics Minister Altmeier even called on German industry to emulate Elon Musk's approach, it is feared that Tesla's example will set a precedent. 

In this context, Ulrike von Wiesenau, press officer, demands that the legally required environmental impact assessment be carried out before construction begins and that planning be transparent at all levels of the procedure: One and a half years after construction began, there is still no final construction and operating permit for the Tesla Gigafactory. Instead, construction continues with "quick start approvals". Currently, a battery factory is planned in a water protection zone and, after the first 16 approvals to date, the Gigafactory is almost 80% complete. In this way, we are presented with a fait accompli without ever having examined the appropriateness of the permit. Until a final permit is granted, there should be no more partial permits.

Representatives of the Brandenburg Nature and Landscape Association (VNLB) and BI Grünheide reported on the situation. Manu Hoyer: Tesla is also endangering the drinking water of Berliners, as the water pollution does not comply with national limits. The handling of highly toxic substances in water protection areas, the withdrawal of water from protected moorland and marshland and the pollution of the Spree, which is already suffering from sewage, will also have an impact on the tap water of Berliners. Heidemarie Schröder: Tesla in Grünheide means the wrong product from the wrong investor in the wrong place. BI-Grünheide says "No thanks" to the destruction of the landscape and water pollution for electric SUVs and focuses instead on truly viable future technologies for a renewal of mobility.

Wassertafel Berlin-Brandenburg demands clarification of all outstanding issues of concern to the people of Brandenburg and Berlin: the endangerment of the water balance in one of the driest regions of Germany, the endangerment of the drinking water of Berliners by the discharge of waste water into the Spree and the endangerment of the groundwater under the plant site; the disclosure of all water-hazardous substances used in the production of cars and batteries and the presentation of a plan for the elimination of these substances, including principles for incident management.