Brandenburg State Environment Minister Axel Vogel said on Wednesday during a State Parliament meeting in Potsdam that Tesla’s Gigafactory Berlin, nor the approved contracts for increased water withdrawal, have any negative effects on the drinking water of 170,000 people.
The Green League and Brandenburg Nature Conservation Union filed a lawsuit against the State Office of the Environment, claiming that approval for higher water pumping rates at the Eggersdorf waterworks could “endanger the public drinking water supply for 170,000 people in the association area.”
The lawsuit pertains to the increased pumping rates, which were increased by 1.2 million cubic meters per year, a nearly 50% increase from the 1976 approval of 2.5 million cubic meters per year, according to Welt. However, this 1976 approval rate was “inadvertently assigned to another waterworks,” the report stated.
The filing has caused some confusion regarding when the factory, which has been in development since early 2020, will begin production. After Gigafactory Berlin was slated to begin production in late 2021, the lawsuit seemed to pull back expectations for when the factory would begin building vehicles. However, it is likely that Gigafactory Berlin is still being worked through the German bureaucratic process, one that CEO Elon Musk has been highly critical of in the past. Tesla submitted approval documents on December 22.
Nevertheless, the environmental groups do not have support from the State Government. Environment Minister Axel Vogel said on Wednesday that there is no evidence that the drinking water quality could be affected.
“The State Government does not see the drinking water supply of 170,000 people in the catchment area of the WSE (Water Association Strausberg-Erkner) and the water supply of Tesla as being at risk,” Vogel said.
Gigafactory Berlin is in the final stages of approval and could begin production soon. Elon Musk is expected to join the electric automaker’s Earnings Call scheduled for next week, where he will give an update regarding Tesla’s product roadmap and could shed more details on the German factory and Gigafactory Texas, where production is also expected to begin very soon.
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