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WDH: Lawsuit by Tesla critics against water extraction partially successful | 3/4/22

(Corrected in third paragraph: Strausberg-Erkner Water Association.)

Frankfurt (Oder) (dpa-AFX) – Critics of Tesla’s new plant on the outskirts of Berlin have had partial success with increasing water withdrawals at Eggersdorf waterworks. The Administrative Court in Frankfurt (Oder) declared the approval to extract additional water at the plant “illegal” and not “enforceable”. The verdict was handed down in the actions of recognized nature conservation societies against the State Environment Office on Friday evening.

The court justified the decision with a procedural error, and therefore partially upheld the complaint of the environmental associations, the Green League and Naboo. According to the chief justice, the State Environmental Bureau did not involve the public in the decision to increase the production volume from 2.5 to 3.57 million cubic meters annually. Public participation must now be compensated for. Only then can an increase in funding begin, the court explained. It is unclear how long this will take. The decision can be appealed.

With the ruling, the Straussberg-Erkner Water Society (WSE) is not allowed to pump any water until public participation takes place. The administrative court’s decision must have come as a shock to WSE. The association considered that the water supply in the area around the Tesla plant is at risk due to the legal dispute. Therefore, WSE has previously announced that it wants to terminate the supply contract with Tesla if the court withdraws the Water Act’s permit.

Just a few hours before the court’s decision on water withdrawal, Brandenburg gave approval for the construction of the Tesla plant – about two years after construction began. It wasn’t initially clear Friday evening what exactly the latest court decision meant for Tesla’s approval.

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Tesla had previously stated that there was “no direct connection” to the company. It insists on state government statements that water supplies for people in the area and the Tesla plant are not in danger.