Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Tesla Can Clear Trees for New EV Factory, German Court Rules

Business
Trees that Tesla wants to clear in order to build a Gigafactory near Gruenheide, Germany on Jan. 21, 2020. Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Tesla can continue clearing a forest outside Berlin in order to build a new Gigafactory factory, a German court ruled Thursday.


The company is planning its first European electric car and battery factory in the town of Gruenheide, but local environmental groups opposed the tree clearing necessary to construct it, Reuters explained. The court had issued a temporary injunction against the tree felling Sunday, The Guardian reported, but its decision now to allow the trees to be cleared is final and cannot be appealed, MarketWatch pointed out.

The factory has divided environmentalists in Germany, DW explained. On the one hand, Tesla plans to clear 92 hectares of forest for its factory. Local environmental groups are worried about how it will impact wildlife and water supply, and their vocal opposition has surprised authorities, according to Reuters. Demonstrations against the plant have drawn hundreds.

Local environmental group Grüne Liga Brandenburg (Green League Brandenburg) also argued that the company should not have been granted permission to clear trees until the March 5 deadline for environmental groups to comment on the factory, Bloomberg reported.

"To fell half of the forest when many aspects of this process are yet to be clarified seems fairly problematic, which is why we have asked the court to deal with it," Heinz-Herwig Mascher of Grüne Liga said, according to The Guardian. "It is not that we have something as such against Tesla as a company or its objectives. But we are concerned the preferential treatment they're being given could set a precedence."

On the other hand, the Gigafactory will produce at least 500,000 electric cars every a year, DW pointed out, making it part of the fight against the climate crisis. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has also argued that the forest was not natural, but was planted for cardboard. He also said the plant would not use as much water as the peak estimates that had alarmed activists.

Some environmental leaders took his side.

"[Y]ou don't always have to oppose everything," Berlin Green Party politician Ramona Pop said, as DW reported. "It is absurd to declare a pine plantation as a forest. We need to keep some perspective. Tesla's future investment should be allowed quickly for clean mobility and climate protection."

In its ruling Thursday, the court decided that the local authorities did not violate any laws when they allowed work on the factory to start, Bloomberg reported. Their decision means that Tesla should be able to finish clearing and begin construction before the breeding and nesting period for local wildlife in mid March. This will put the company on track to meeting its goal of opening the Gigafactory in the middle of 2021.

Musk said on Twitter that the plant would be designed with "sustainability and the environment in mind," and that the company would plant three trees for every tree cut down.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

By Samantha Hepburn

In the expansion of its iron ore mine in Western Pilbara, Rio Tinto blasted the Juukan Gorge 1 and 2 — Aboriginal rock shelters dating back 46,000 years. These sites had deep historical and cultural significance.

Read More Show Less
Meadow Lake wind farm in Indiana. Anthony / CC BY-ND 2.0

By Tara Lohan

The first official tallies are in: Coronavirus-related shutdowns helped slash daily global emissions of carbon dioxide by 14 percent in April. But the drop won't last, and experts estimate that annual emissions of the greenhouse gas are likely to fall only about 7 percent this year.

Read More Show Less
Andrey Nikitin / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Adrienne Santos-Longhurst

Plants are awesome. They brighten up your space and give you a living thing you can talk to when there are no humans in sight.

Turns out, having enough of the right plants can also add moisture (aka humidify) indoor air, which can have a ton of health benefits.

Read More Show Less
A bald eagle chick inside a nest in Rutland, Massachusetts. Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
A bald eagle nest with eggs has been discovered in Cape Cod for the first time in 115 years, according to the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (Mass Wildlife), as Newsweek reported.
Read More Show Less
The office of Rover.com sits empty with employees working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic on March 12 in Seattle, Washington. John Moore / Getty Images

The office may never look the same again. And the investment it will take to protect employees may force many companies to go completely remote. That's after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new recommendations for how workers can return to the office safely.

Read More Show Less
Frederic Edwin Church's The Icebergs reveal their danger as a crush vessel is in the foreground of an iceberg strewn sea, 1860. Buyenlarge / Getty Images

Scientists and art historians are studying art for signs of climate change and to better understand the ways Western culture's relationship to nature has been altered by it, according to the BBC.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Esben Østergaard, co-founder of Lifeline Robotics and Universal Robots, takes a swab in the World's First Automatic Swab Robot, developed with Thiusius Rajeeth Savarimuthu, professor at the Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Institute at The University of Southern Denmark. The University of Southern Denmark

By Richard Connor

The University of Southern Denmark on Wednesday announced that its researchers have developed the world's first fully automatic robot capable of carrying out throat swabs for COVID-19.

Read More Show Less