Tesla’s Gigafactory Berlin plant is now under investigation in Germany for allegedly handling toxic materials without a permit.
Today, the Potsdam Public Prosecutor’s Office announced that they would investigate Tesla for handling toxic materials at the Giga Berlin facility without the necessary permitting. As initially reported by the German news agency RBB, this investigation follows a string of environmental complaints regarding Tesla’s Brandenburg facility.
Prosecutors allege that Tesla operated a temporary hazardous materials warehouse on the Giga Berlin property while not obtaining the necessary permits. This follows both an initial complaint of non-compliance issued back in August and a subsequent criminal complaint from the German State Office for the Environment.
The comment given to RBB by prosecutors notes that if Tesla is found guilty of operating the facility without a permit, those found responsible within the company could face either a steep fine or up to three years of imprisonment.
Prosecutors nor Tesla have specified what the waste facility was containing or why it was put up in the first place. However, the situation mirrors an investigation from earlier this year when Tesla operated a recycling facility at Giga Berlin without a permit and was forced to close the facility.
It is unclear if Tesla will face any actual penalties or what the investigation will find regarding Tesla’s toxic material handling. However, if the situation is similar to the recycling plant, Tesla may be forced to close its toxic materials warehouse. Without the warehouse in use, and presumably hazardous materials being created or used at the plant, it is unclear what will happen to the materials.
Tesla has faced a series of environmental complaints at its Giga Berlin facility in particular. Even before the facility was built, it faced substantial backlash from environmental groups that worried the new facility would disturb local ecosystems. Once the facility finally entered construction, it faced new threats of lawsuits from major environmental groups, Nabu and Green League. More recently, environmental groups have protested the facility’s expansion which required deforestation of the surrounding area.
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