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 the approval for the project could be delayed or production could be prevented. In his view, there is no connection between the lawsuit and the approval process, the minister said in the state parliament on Wednesday; the Frankfurt / Oder administrative court even confirmed this in principle. Steinbach also stated that the approval for Tesla is “in the last few meters” – but does not want to speculate about the timing in the future.
Two ministers have given Tesla the all-clear
On Tuesday evening, ZDF broadcast a report from its magazine head-on about the German Gigafactory. Before that, it published a press release, which differs in one important point: Because of the lawsuit by environmental associations, the contract for the water supply to the Tesla factory may “not come about”, the advance notification makes curious. On television, the head of the responsible water association Strausberg-Erkner then only said in the subjunctive that the contract would not have been concluded if the country had not previously approved the extraction of more water from one of its plants.
The associations are suing this approval from March 2020 on the grounds that it was not preceded by a proper examination. The proceedings should long since have ended, but have 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 Environment Minister Axel Vogel last week. First, in the event of a defeat, there is a second and possibly also a third court instance, he said. And secondly, the lawsuit is not decisive in any case, because the authorities have all the evidence required for the approval, including water.
As Vogel’s ministerial colleague Steinbach said on Wednesday, even the court itself has already shown that, like him, there is no connection between the lawsuit and the approval process for the Gigafactory. According to media reports, Tesla applied to be summoned to the court proceedings, but the court refused. “This confirms in an objective way that things are indeed separate procedures,” said the minister.
Gigafactory reluctance announced
He did not want to speculate about the question of whether the Tesla approval or the judgment will come first, Steinbach said. He also wants to be “even more cautious” with public statements at the possible point in time – in order to avoid the impression that he wants 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 of the deputy WSE spokeswoman, who said that the supply of the first expansion stage of Tesla in Grünheide was through does not endanger the pending judgment.