The US electric car manufacturer Tesla has not only been successful with its contradictions in the state of Brandenburg with a requirement for groundwater control. At the request of the company, the State Environment Agency also overturned an ancillary provision for Tesla on the handling of substances hazardous to water. This was announced by the State Environment Agency of the German Press Agency.

The state wanted Tesla to submit the analyzes to the water authority of the Oder-Spree district in certain cases when it classified mixtures in water hazard classes. This involves cases in which Tesla has classified substances in a lower hazard class due to a low proportion. The company opposed it. The State Office for the Environment complied and lifted the ancillary provision for Tesla. This means that car manufacturers can classify the water hazard class for these mixtures themselves without having to submit analyses. The State Environment Agency did not comment on request and referred to an ongoing legal process regarding the decision on the objection.

Environmental association calls for more transparency

The environmental association Green League Brandenburg sees risks. “The hazard classification of the mixtures cannot be checked. We as associations and the public have no way of understanding these processes by blacking out the application documents and the approval notice,” said State Managing Director Michael Ganschow. “It remains unclear which substances are used in battery cell production. More transparency would be urgently needed here.”

The State Office for the Environment had changed some specifications in response to Tesla’s objection, rejected some and also repealed them. Among other things, it had repealed the requirement that the Strausberg-Erkner water association must be involved in all groundwater-related issues. The association then sued the administrative court in Frankfurt (Oder) against the state authority. In the meantime, the Brandenburg Nature Conservation Union and the Brandenburg Green League have also filed a lawsuit – they criticize the fact that they were not heard before the objection decision was issued. The Brandenburg Ministry of the Environment had defended the no longer required to involve the local water association in groundwater monitoring.

Since March 2022, Tesla has been manufacturing electric vehicles at its only European car factory in Grünheide in Berlin. Around 12,000 employees are to work there in the first stage of expansion.