Tesla is once again under siege...by environmentalists?
You read it right: Germany environmentalist groups Green League and NABU have now officially filed complaints against the company, looking to block provisional approvals necessary for the construction of Tesla's German Gigafactory.
The planned construction is supposed to be taking place in the district of Gruenheide, Bloomberg and Business Insider report. The write-up says that if the Brandenburg State Office for the Environment fails to act on the complaints, the associations plan on taking it one step further with an emergency petition.
As if the irony of Tesla's planned getting bulldozed by groups looking to preserve the environment wasn't rich enough, the action came after deficiencies were discovered in how Tesla may deal with environmental hazards at its forthcoming plant. "...A recent accident report warned Tesla wasn’t sufficiently prepared with regard to the possibility of exploding gas clouds and the escape of irritant gas in the factory’s paint shop," Bloomberg reported.
We noted back in early May that the factory could be delayed due to legal woes lodged by environmentalists. Since announcing plans for expansion in 2019, Tesla's proposed factory in Berlin has been "torpedoed by environmental regulations, unexploded WW2 bombs and labor laws," according to the The Daily Mail.
The "huge construction delays" and "government red tape" means that the facility may not wind up producing any vehicles until next year, the report notes. The facility had previously been scheduled to open on July 1 of this year.
Musk announced plans for the facility back in November 2019 around the same time Tesla's Shanghai factory was coming online. Musk reportedly chose Germany so he could avoid the Brexit-induced administrative hassle that would come with moving into the UK.
To this date, he is still waiting for environmental approval for his plant, despite stating last July: 'Giga Berlin will come together at an impossible-seeming speed.'
Among the environmental roadblocks the company faces are controversies with removing trees and animal habitats, as well as the company having to remove bomb shells from the construction site.
While physical construction nears an end, a mountain of legal issues remains. Recall, in February, Tesla was ordered by a German court to stop cutting down trees to make space for its factory.
And this isn't the first time this month Tesla has been foe instead of friend with those looking to make environmentally sound decisions. Recall, we noted just hours ago that Tesla had been dropped from a sustainability ETF in Australia specifically, among other reasons, due to environmental concerns surrounding the building of its Gigafactory in Germany. Australian fund manager BetaShares dropped Tesla because of "ethical failures" on the part of Tesla.
“Tesla is still definitely a carbon leader…but it has fallen foul of our [environmental, social and governance] screens which resulted in its removal,” the fund's CIO told Business Insider.
He continued: “During May last year at the height of the COVID pandemic, Tesla reopened its factory in Fremont, California, despite the orders of the local authorities, resulting in quite a large number of COVID cases. New reports have indicated that there was a significantly larger outbreak than was previously reported, so we have numbers from one to 50 COVID cases related to the factory.”
The investment officer said he had been mulling the move "for a while" and finally dumped its $60 million stake after “new evidence came to light” and “controversies and reputation issues” arose.
The fund also took exception with Tesla's environmental impact in Germany, where it is building a Gigafactory.
Crous noted: “German media reports that Tesla’s factory in Brandenburg will consume about 3.6 million cubic metres of water per year, which is roughly around 30% of the total water in the region. Some experts believe this will lead to restrictions on drinking water.”