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Germany: citizens do not want Tesla factory expansion



A majority of Grünheide citizens have spoken out against the planned expansion of the Tesla factory. An activist group has now occupied the forest area earmarked for expansion. You don’t trust politicians to adhere to the popular vote.

About 80 activists from the “Stop Tesla” initiative have occupied a forest near the company’s car factory in Grünheide to protest the planned expansion of the factory. They also want to uphold the vote of Grünheide citizens, who, in a poll of residents, came out against the related development plan, the initiative announced Thursday.

The group has built tree houses on the forest, a 120-hectare lot, which is to be cut down to expand the site. Environmental activists said the occupation near the Fangschleuse train station was planned for an indefinite period of time.

“Our main concern is the drinking water protection zone,” activist Caro Weber told the German News Agency. The initiative does not trust politicians to follow the wishes of residents since the existing plant had already been built with special permits granted by various levels of government.

Part of the Tesla site is located in the drinking water protection area. Tesla also built its factory using advance approvals.

The company’s expansion plans for the car factory were largely rejected by the citizens of Grünheide. Nearly two-thirds voted against the plan last week. The vote is not legally binding. The city council has yet to approve a development plan, and the pressure to give it the green light is strong.

In addition to the existing 300-hectare plant, the electric car manufacturer wants to build a freight yard, warehouses, and a company nursery. To achieve this goal, more than 100 hectares of forest will be cut down.

It is not clear why Tesla would, necessarily, want to build in the middle of a forest. Had it come to Italy, there were huge abandoned industrial areas to raze, with no environmental problems.

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