Tesla is facing “criminal” allegations regarding Gigafactory Berlin as environmentalists accuse the automaker of “suspected water pollution and a possible environmental crime.”
For years now, Tesla has been in battle with environmentalists in Germany who have tried to stop or slow down the construction of and production at Gigafactory Berlin.
Their complaints have ranged from deforestation to water usage.
Now they are going a step further by “filing criminal charges,” according to a new report by Moz.de. The Association for Nature and Landscape in Brandenburg has filed three “criminal charges” with the public prosecutor’s office in Frankfurt (Oder), and two of them are against Tesla.
The first charge has to do with Tesla driving foundation piles that the association believes could be reaching and/or affecting groundwater. Groundwater contamination and water usage have been one of the main battlegrounds for environmentalists trying to stop the Gigafactory Berlin project.
The second charge is against Sascha Gehm, the first deputy of the Oder-Spree district and head of Department III Construction, Order, and Environment, who they claim had “a lack of supervision and control” over the Tesla construction project.
The last charge is again against Tesla, which they accuse of starting construction the “Tesla-Süd” work shuttle station project at the Gigafactory Berlin site before it officially received the construction permit.
It’s not clear what the prosecutor’s office is going to do with those allegations yet. The association might have some backing regarding the water contamination allegation as the Strausberg-Erkner water association (WSE) has also expressed some concerns.
Tesla has had strong backing from local politicians and civil servants in Brandenburg. It has been able to use that backing to avoid significant impact from these environmentalist organizations trying to slow down the project, but it looks like they are now cranking up the pressure with these criminal allegations.
I am not familiar with the German legal system. The local reporting claims that the association “filed” those “criminal charges” against Tesla with the court.
In most justice systems I know about, the prosecution can file charges and not one organization against another.
Therefore, I don’t know how serious this is, but we will keep an eye on it as Tesla’s expansion at Gigafactory Berlin is critical to the automaker’s plans.