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Let Tesla expand? The Germans vote no.| GuyWhoKnowsThings

Tesla's decision to establish itself in Grünheide, in the state of Brandenburg, and the speed with which the factory was built (861 days) has been a source of pride for local politicians in a country known for its onerous procurement processes. permissions.

The factory, opened two years ago, has also become an important engine of growth in this state, which has long been one of the most economically difficult in Germany. Brandenburg recorded economic growth of 6 percent in the first half of 2023, largely driven by the 11,000 jobs at the plant and dozens of suppliers that have sprung up around it.

But many local residents claim the plant has disrupted the quality of life that attracted them to Grünheide and say it threatens air and water quality.

Some said Tesla already had the right to build warehouses and a rail yard on the existing 740-acre land where the factory sits. They welcomed the opportunity to weigh in on the matter.

“This is the first time the neighbors have been asked and the answer is very clear,” says Steffen Schorcht, an activist from the Bürgerinitiative Grünheide, which opposes the expansion. “We hope politicians respect it.”

Brandenburg Economy Minister Jörg Steinbach said the vote reflected people's persistent uncertainty about the American electric vehicle maker, and that it would be up to politicians to work harder to convince them how its presence benefits the region.

“I see the outcome of the vote as motivation for the municipality and Tesla to address unresolved conceptual concerns in the coming weeks and months,” Steinbach said.

Christiani was pleased that more than 70 percent of eligible voters voted in Grünheide. But he noted that the plan they rejected also included infrastructure developments that are important to the broader community and should be resolved.

The final decision on how to move forward lies with the Grünheide town council. He did not put the topic on his agenda for the next meeting, in March, and officials declined to comment on when that might happen. The body will hold its last meeting before local elections in mid-May.

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