Tesla construction site in Grünheide:
Tesla construction site in Grünheide:
The car manufacturer still lacks the final permit for its factory construction
Photo: Patrick Pleul / dpa
Tesla has been building its new giant factory in Grünheide near Berlin for over a year, and the first cars should roll off the assembly line there in a few weeks.
To date, however, the company does not have all the necessary permits, in particular the environmental permit from the state of Brandenburg has not yet been granted.
There are numerous opponents and critics who therefore continue to hope to be able to hold back the project: The Brandenburg environmental authorities have now received more than 800 objections to Tesla's construction project in the course of the approval process.
Before the final approval, all citizens' initiatives, environmentalists, associations and private individuals must now be heard
For this purpose, an online consultation process will start on Friday: For three weeks, the objections to the Tesla factory will be published, justified and discussed on the Internet.
The authorities as well as the US company itself take a position (or at least should do so).
What do the authors of the hundreds of objections to Tesla's plans have?
Here is an overview of the most prominent opponents of the Tesla factory and their arguments:
Naturschutzbund Deutschland: Species in danger
According to the Naturschutzbund (Nabu), the Tesla buildings will have a massive impact on the protection of species, habitats and the landscape around the factory. The speed chosen by Tesla for factory construction means that "a lot is flattened before adequate compensation can be created elsewhere," writes Nabu in a statement to manager magazin. "Ecosystems cannot be completely re-established within a few months, but unfortunately they can be completely destroyed in a few days."
The conservationists are particularly concerned about the location of the Tesla construction site directly between two very species-rich protected areas: the Löcknitz valley and the Müggelspreen lowlands.
The water levels are of central importance for both areas, they write.
Because of the strong sealing of the site by the Tesla factory, the groundwater flows would change, which would affect the protected areas.
In addition, the Tesla site is located in a drinking water protection area.
An incident in the factory, such as a chemical leak, could lead to a catastrophe, the Nabu fears.
Grünheide citizens' initiative: concern for drinking water
The Grünheide citizens' initiative has also criticized Tesla for building its new factory in a water protection area. "I wrote the objections because a chemical factory or a car factory has nothing, absolutely nothing to do with a water protection area," says a spokeswoman. "This factory is being built in one of the driest regions in Germany." The residents of Grünheide have been asked repeatedly in recent years to save water. The car factory, however, needs "an immense amount of water".
But that's not all: According to the citizens' initiative, Tesla is not only endangering the drinking water of Grünheide, but of Berlin as a whole.
"Water pollution does not stick to national borders," says the spokeswoman.
"Handling highly toxic substances in water protection areas, withdrawing water from protected moors and swamps, and polluting the already badly shaken Spree with wastewater will also have an impact on the Berliners' tap."
(50) was recently approached by a journalist about the water problem in Grünheide while visiting Germany.
The entrepreneur didn't seem to take the question very seriously, however.
He replied with a laugh: "Look around you. There is so much water in this region."
Bund Brandenburg: Deforestation destroys habitat
The Federation for the Environment and Nature Conservation Germany (Federation) in Brandenburg can - apart from the fact that it generally calls for a move away from "motorized individual transport" - to see positive things in Tesla's plans.
"We fundamentally welcome the fact that traffic is being switched from cars with internal combustion engines to vehicles with electric drives," says Axel Kruschat, Managing Director of the Brandenburg Federation.
The prerequisite, however, is that only electricity from renewable energy sources is used.
Requires professional support for clearing:
Requires professional support for clearing:
from the Brandenburg federal government
Photo: BUND Brandenburg
The federal government has criticized the clearing of the forest on the factory site, which in its opinion represents a "significant encroachment" within the meaning of the Nature Conservation Act.
"150 hectares of coniferous forest are said to have been cleared," says Kruschat.
This would also endanger the habitat of animals.
The federal government demands "professional, ecological support" of the clearing - which has not yet existed.
The conservationists are also critical of the promise of reparation made by Tesla.
"Tesla itself has already made a public commitment to reforest three times as much forest as is cut down," says Kruschat.
"Due to the lack of availability of suitable areas, this is counterproductive from a nature conservation point of view and should be avoided at all costs."
Verkehrsclub Deutschland: Traffic in Grünheide overloaded
The Verkehrsclub Deutschland (VCD) also considers the factory location in Grünheide to be problematic. However, the VCD focuses less on biodiversity or water quality than on traffic pollution. This is already very high in the region, both in passenger and freight traffic. This problem is exacerbated by the Tesla factory.
According to VCD, the state's approval only relates to expansion stage 1 of the Tesla plant, in which 500,000 vehicles are expected per year.
Later, however, production should be expanded, which consequently means more vehicles.
"For the VCD the question arises of how the development of the factory is to be ensured if the volume of traffic increases again due to the battery production. There are no specific information and suggestions on this," says Anja Hänel, managing director of the VCD Brandenburg.
According to the Verkehrsclub, a large part of the passenger and freight traffic should be shifted to rail in order to minimize the negative effects.
Green League: deficiencies in the approval process
Above all, the Brandenburg Green League criticizes how the process has gone so far.
State and federal politicians alike had put pressure on the administration so that Tesla's settlement would be approved as soon as possible.
"Orderly procedures with democratic rules that have grown over the decades are no longer possible under this pressure," says Michael Ganschow, member of the Green League management.
Ganschow accuses the decision-makers of the entire process being intransparent.
The approval authority interprets Tesla's applications uncritically.
In addition, the Green League joins the arguments of Nabu, the federal government and other environmentalists.
Conclusion: Tesla is silent, politics beckons with billions
So there are a number of concerns about the Tesla factory in Brandenburg - but will you still be able to stop the mega-project?
The group itself seems to be very sure of its cause, after all it has pushed the construction work well ahead of the final approval.
The Americans who want to create more than 10,000 jobs in Brandenburg are getting a tailwind from politics.
A few days ago, the state of Brandenburg announced that it wanted to fund a battery factory that Tesla also wants to build in Grünheide with 120 million euros.
Further funding for this is likely to come from the European battery cell program.
The Federal Ministry of Economics stated that there was still no final funding amount, the "Tagesspiegel" had rumored a funding amount of 1.1 billion euros.
And what does Tesla say about the objections of environmentalists and associations in the approval process?
The group did not respond to a request for comments on the most important points of criticism.
In the online consultation process, however, a statement by Tesla will be included, a spokeswoman for the Brandenburg Ministry of the Environment confirmed on request.
Brandenburg's Environment Minister
(65, Greens) himself had recently stated that the car company had an obligation to deliver.
From Friday everyone will have the opportunity to read and judge the arguments of the Tesla critics and the response of the US company - publicly on the Internet.
The address at which the documents can then be found: https://www.uvp-verbund.de/bb