After a TV report about a new threat to the water supply for the Tesla Gigafactory in Grünheide near Berlin, Brandenburg’s Economics Minister Jörg Steinbach countered the impression that approval for the project could be delayed or production prevented. From his point of view, there is no connection between the lawsuit and the approval process, the minister said on Wednesday in the state parliament; the administrative court in Frankfurt/Oder even confirmed this in principle. Steinbach also stated that the approval for Tesla was “in the last few meters” – but no longer wanted to speculate about the timing in the future.
Two ministers with Tesla all-clear
On Tuesday evening, ZDF broadcast a report from its magazine frontal about the German gigafactory. Before that, it published a press release that differs in one important point: because of the lawsuit from environmental associations, the contract becomes Tesla factory water supply may ‘fail’, the pre-announcement arouses curiosity. On television, the head of the responsible Strausberg-Erkner water association said only in the subjunctive that the contract would not have been concluded if the state had not previously approved the withdrawal of more water from one of its plants.
The associations are suing against this approval from March 2020 on the grounds that it was not preceded by a proper examination. The process should have ended long ago, but has been postponed several times. Most recently, the administrative court said that a decision could be expected in February. The final approval of the German Tesla factory will not stop that, said Brandenburg’s Environment Minister Axel Vogel last week. First, in the event of defeat, there would be a second and possibly a third court, he explained. And secondly, the lawsuit is not decisive anyway, because the authorities would have all the evidence required for the permit, including water.
As Vogel’s minister colleague Steinbach then said this Wednesday, even the court itself has already made it clear that, like him, there is no connection between the Lawsuit and the approval process for the Gigafactory sees. According to media reports, Tesla applied to be included in the court proceedings, which the court rejected. “It confirms in an objective way that things are indeed separate procedures,” the minister said.
Gigafactory restraint announced
Steinbach said he did not want to speculate on whether the Tesla approval would come first or the verdict. From now on, he also wants to be “even more reserved” with public statements at a possible time – in order to avoid the impression of wanting to influence the outcome of the proceedings even indirectly. On Wednesday, however, he also gave the all-clear on the subject of water supply, or at least quoted one: He could only refer to the statement by the deputy WSE spokeswoman on this issue, who explained that the Supply of the first expansion stage of Tesla in Grünheide is not endangered by the forthcoming judgment.