Protest: Environmentalists: Politics should stop Tesla expansion

Environmentalists have called on politicians in Brandenburg to stop the US car manufacturer Tesla's expansion plans in Grünheide and further deforestation.

Protest: Environmentalists: Politics should stop Tesla expansion

Environmentalists have called on politicians in Brandenburg to stop the US car manufacturer Tesla's expansion plans in Grünheide and further deforestation. “What else has to happen for politicians to react and finally put human welfare ahead of profit interests,” said Lou Winters from the “Turn off the tap to Tesla” alliance in the protest camp of environmental activists.

She spoke of a scandal and accused Tesla of environmental violations, endangering drinking water and exceeding wastewater limits. The Grünheide municipal council should not ignore the fact that the majority of residents recently rejected an expansion of the site in a survey.

Up to 100 environmental activists occupy forest

"I think the expansion has to be stopped because the residents don't want it," said refugee and climate activist Carola Rackete, who visited the protest camp. Politics must comply with this. "I think it's extremely important and right that this was occupied, because it's about the drinking water protection area," said Rackete, who is the Left's top candidate for the European elections. In other regions such as Lusatia or Rügen, residents should also decide which projects they wanted.

Since Thursday, around 80 to 100 environmental activists have been occupying part of the state forest that Tesla plans to clear in the event of an expansion of its site. They built around ten tree houses several meters high and announced that they wanted to hold out for as long as possible. The Grünheide citizens' initiative also speaks out against the expansion plans and shows solidarity with the occupiers.

On Saturday, residents from the region also came by, some bringing food and other donations. A number of Tesla critics also headed towards the car factory during a “walk in the woods”. In the afternoon there was a piano concert in the forest.

The police have so far seen no reason to clear the camp. Tesla has not yet commented on the campaign. The only European factory belonging to billionaire Elon Musk's company is located in Grünheide.

"Limits to Growth"

“This is a legitimate form of protest,” said the state manager of the Federation for the Environment and Nature Conservation (BUND) in Brandenburg, Axel Kruschat, to the dpa. "I hope they last long enough." It is good that the environmentalists took up residence in the forest to make it clear that there should be no further Tesla expansion. "There are limits to growth here."

The environmental activists announced a long protest. “Our protest has just begun and will only get bigger,” said Winter. A demonstration is planned for March 10th. There should be further actions in May. “E-mobility currently enjoys a green veneer, but it is not a solution to the climate crisis,” argued Winter. She called for expanded and free public transport.

The environmentalists are protesting against the expansion of the site on which Tesla wants to build a freight station and logistics and warehouses and which is partly in the water protection area. It is an area of ​​around 120 hectares that is to be cleared for this purpose. The municipal council in Grünheide still has to decide on the development plan, as does the state parliament's finance committee on the sale of the state forest. Tesla argues that the freight station would shift traffic from road to rail.

The expansion plans should also be seen against the background that the car manufacturer wants to expand production and double the planned 500,000 cars per year to one million. The last estimate was 300,000 cars per year.

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