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Money Investigations against Tesla: Animal welfare debate over the construction of the new plant near Berlin

14:15  20 february  2021
14:15  20 february  2021 Source:   cms.downloadvod.daznservices.com

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A legal dispute about the handling of specially protected animals on the site of the planned factory of the US electric car manufacturer Tesla in Grünheide near Berlin is still smoldering. The public prosecutor's office in Frankfurt (Oder) is investigating allegations of a violation of the Federal Nature Conservation Act. "Tesla's clearing work has interfered with the sand lizard's habitat and certain specially protected adder species," said the prosecutor's spokesman, Thies Petersen. A statement from the Lower Nature Conservation Authority of the Oder-Spree district is awaited.

Gefällte Bäume liegen auf der Baustelle der Tesla Gigafactory. © dpa Felled trees are on the construction site of the Tesla Gigafactory.

Anyone who catches, injures or kills a specially protected wild animal is acting improperly according to the Federal Nature Conservation Act - then there is a risk of a fine or imprisonment of up to five years. "At this point in time, it cannot be said whether a specific interference or a violation of the criminal provisions mentioned can be proven," emphasized the public prosecutor's office. Three procedures - the refueling of vehicles, an oil film and the extraction of groundwater - have therefore already been discontinued.

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plant to start in June According to previous plans,

Tesla wants to start producing electric cars in the Brandenburg plant in July. Because the environmental approval from the state is pending, the company is building in individual steps via early approvals. A point in time for a decision on a possible final approval is open - it is likely until the end of March. Tesla had the reptiles collected on the premises.


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Nature conservationists accuse the authorities that the strictly protected animals were killed while clearing the forest. It is also about a dump of rubble, which is considered a habitat. From the minutes of a public hearing of critics of the factory in autumn it emerges that the head of the environmental office of the Oder-Spree district, Thomas Driebusch, said: "The lower soil protection authority actually did not know (...) about a contaminated site there." refers to November 2019. "A little later" it was revealed that the rubble was discovered, which was then cleared.

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No endangerment from contaminated sites identified

The conservationist Julia Neigel, who became known as a singer, said according to the protocol that this affected the forest that was cleared. “In this context, there was a killing permit.” On February 24, 2020, the Oder-Spree district issued an exemption for the killing of the protected sand lizard and smooth snake species for the removal of a contaminated area by the end of winter dormancy.

A district spokesman points out that in the development plan of the community of Grünheide from 2001 an expert opinion was given that did not identify any risk to people, soil or groundwater from contaminated sites. Neigel assumes that the animals were killed before February 24th. She refers to an expert opinion by the company Natur und Text GmbH dated February 19, 2020, in which it says that trees would be felled in a taboo area with the help of harvesters. However, according to the head of the environmental department, the dump was not forested. (dpa)

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