Tesla is facing criminal charges in Germany after residents claim recent projects at the site could have caused water pollution, a possible environmental crime.
The charges are also directed at Sascha Gehm, the First Deputy of the Oder-Spree District, as those concerned with the issues at the site believe there is “a lack of supervision and control” at the Giga Berlin site, Moz.de reports.
Tesla is facing claims that its early and unapproved start of construction dealing with piles being driven into the ground for a solar canopy in a parking lot at the facility.
Residents of and members of the Grünheide Citizens Initiative say that Tesla’s pile driving at the site violates two portions of the Criminal Code. “The piling took place without the approval of the competent authorities and without prior hydrological investigation,” group chairman Manu Hoyer said.
The group of residents are also upset with Gehm for not having seen the violations by Tesla at the site, claiming the company has repeatedly committed violations without any punishment. Hoyer adds that Gehm is responsible for overseeing the work of Tesla at the site, but these violations have persisted, and the automaker has not been admonished for its work.
Gehm called the accusations “bananas” and stated, “No company is controlled as much as Tesla. The district’s speed cameras cannot prevent people from driving too fast. And the groundwater has never been endangered during the whole time, even during the disruption.”
Members used YouTube videos to monitor construction work by Tesla at the Giga Berlin site and observed piles being driven as early as February 5 while the land was already being prepared for the work on January 25. Pile driving had been completed by February 8. Interestingly, Tesla stopped allowing flyovers by drone operators at the site earlier this month.
The concern over the piles that have been installed is in regard to the possible contamination of groundwater, which has not been an uncommon complaint of residents near the factory.
Tesla discussed miscommunications regarding construction with the Ministry of the Environment and eventually established a new division for zoning approval in Berlin to avoid future problems with the residents or other agencies.
Although Tesla moved forward with the pile driving without explicit approval, the District of Oder-Spree admitted the low insertion depth was unlikely to interfere with groundwater quality.