Court orders Tesla to stop chopping down trees at German factory site

A German court ordered Tesla this week to stop chopping down trees on a plot of land where the company plans to build its next factory.

The Higher Administrative Court for Berlin-Brandenburg told the electric-car maker Sunday that it must stop clearing the forest land near Berlin until it hears an appeal from concerned environmental activists.

A state environmental office had given CEO Elon Musk’s company permission to remove trees from 92 hectares of land on the site. But the court said in a statement that it had to block Tesla from proceeding because the work could have been finished in the next three days.

That would have prevented the court from ruling on a complaint brought by the Gruene Liga Brandenburg, or Green League of Brandenburg, which has argued that Tesla’s so-called Gigafactory could pollute drinking water in the area.

“It should not be assumed that the motion seeking legal protection brought by the Green League lacks any chance of succeeding,” the court said in its statement.

Tesla has pledged to address the environmental concerns that have emerged since the Silicon Valley-based company announced plans for the German factory in November. The automaker plans to replant a piece of land three times the size of its factory plot with a mix of native trees, according to its website.

“We are also working to ensure plenty of clean drinking water through water-saving measures in the factory as well as a structural solution with and for the community in the medium term,” Tesla says on a webpage outlining its factory plans.

The environmental protests aren’t the only obstacle Tesla has faced in developing the Berlin-area factory. German officials revealed last month that 187 pounds of World War II ammunition had been discovered at the site. Tesla has also promised to relocate colonies of bats that made the forest plot their home, according to The Wall Street Journal.

With Post wires

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