Tesla's Controversial Factory Expansion is Approved - Latest Global News

Tesla’s Controversial Factory Expansion is Approved

The controversial expansion of Tesla’s only European gigafactory was approved on Thursday as the local council of the German municipality of Grünheide voted in favor of the automaker’s plans to expand its facility near Berlin.

The majority of the 19 council representatives supported Tesla’s plans to expand its only European Gigafactory. Eleven city councilors voted for the expansion, six voted against and two abstained. The vote improves Tesla’s chances of building more logistics space, including a train station, although the company still needs to seek approval from local environmental regulators. In July, Tesla announced that it wanted to build one million electric cars per year at the site.

According to local reports, about 50 protesters gathered outside the local government building when the result was announced. “It’s pretty disappointing,” said Esther Kamm, spokeswoman for the anti-Tesla protest group Turn Off the Tap on Tesla (TDHA), which monitored the vote. She said the group would continue to try to stop the expansion by continuing to protest while also exploring its legal options.

“It was a bad decision today and that makes things even more difficult, but it’s definitely not the end of the story.”

TDHA is just one of many environmental groups opposing the expansion. They claim the factory’s presence threatens to pollute local water supplies and call the automaker’s reputation as an environmentally friendly company misleading.

“I’m angry,” Manu Hoyer, spokesman for the Grünheide citizens’ initiative, which represents residents opposed to the factory, said in a statement. “Today the local council ignored the vote of me and my fellow citizens.” ” In February, 65 percent of locals voted against the expansion plan in a non-binding survey.

Last week, hundreds of protesters tried to storm the factory during a demonstration against the expansion, clashing with police. According to police, 23 demonstrators were arrested and 27 officers were injured as part of a five-day protest.

Anti-Tesla protesters say they want to draw attention to the mineral mining necessary to build electric car batteries and the problems mining can cause for local populations. According to 2021 data from the International Energy Agency, electric car batteries require 170 kg more minerals such as lithium, nickel and cobalt.

Since February, a handful of protesters have been living in treehouses in the forest just steps from the Tesla factory in another attempt to stop the site’s expansion. They currently have a residence permit until May 20th. An attempt by police to force people to leave the camp before that date was rejected by a German court today.

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