The Grand Coalition questions the right of environmental groups to sue Tesla. The reason for this is the constant resistance to the construction of the California manufacturer's plant in Grünheide near Berlin. “We must restrict the right of group action to the environmental associations that are directly affected,” said Carsten Linnemann, federal chairman of SMEs and the Economic Union and deputy chairman of the Union's parliamentary group.
The Grand Coalition is the ruling coalition of the parties with the most seats in parliament. Now, the Grand Coalition wants to take action against the ongoing protests against the construction of Tesla's Giga Berlin.
After Tesla chose Germany to build its next car factory, German politicians were delighted that this would improve the economic situation in the country, and create tens of thousands of jobs. However, during the construction process, the company faced an incessant stream of lawsuits from environmental organizations that continually delayed the construction process. Only thanks to the assertiveness of Tesla CEO Elon Musk, the company was able to achieve the progress that we see now so quickly.
Meanwhile, there are dozens of projects in Germany that have been frozen or whose construction has been delayed for many years due to the interference of environmental organizations, which negatively affects the image of Germany throughout the world. The speed of Tesla's construction could be an excellent signal for businessmen around the world that in Germany they can invest in the development of their own business. However, this may not happen, so the country's government needs to take urgent action.
At the moment, Giga Berlin has not yet received a full environmental permit from the Land of Brandenburg, and Tesla is building on the basis of prior permits. It is this that gives the environmentalists a legitimate reason to continue to attack the company. The collective right to act gives environmental organizations such extensive legal authority that even a nature conservation association from Bavaria (which is located in another part of the country and has nothing to do with Brandenburg) was able to sue Tesla.
In this regard, the Grand Coalition now wants to prevent such incidents in the future. “We must restrict the right of group action to the environmental associations that are directly affected,” said Linnemann to Handelsblatt. "It would also rule out the possibility of the Bavarian associations to sue the planning project in Brandenburg."
Johannes Fechner also sees the need for action, but not only because of Tesla. “Important construction projects and infrastructure development measures have indeed been unduly delayed by the processes, and this must change,” he said in an interview with Handelsblatt. Fechner said it would be right for the responsible Federal Environment Agency to scrutinize whether an association, for example from Bavaria, which sued Tesla, has the right to file a claim.
What was previously practiced in Germany should no longer be considered acceptable. “Free Democrats are open to any proposal that leads to more efficient planning and approval procedures,” said General Secretary Volker Wissing. "Germany has imposed shackles that make it difficult to quickly invest in crisis times."
Group Vice Chairman Michael Theurer believes there is an urgent need to reform the right to sue and speed up planning. “Germany should not be cut off from technological progress, infrastructure expansion, and prosperity by endless waves of lawsuits,” he said.
© 2020, Eva Fox. All rights reserved.
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About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.