A number of environmental activists and activist groups are trying to stop Tesla’s expansion plans at the Texas Gigafactory. The automaker wants to build a new battery cathode plant next to its main Austin facility. The groups outlined their concerns in a letter to Mayor Steve Adler, asking him to withhold Tesla’s license.
One of the main problems is the environmental impact that additional construction will have on the local area. The group felt Tesla had done enough environmental damage in Austin with the construction of its main plant, and an additional battery cathode facility was unnecessary. Its construction will require more of the city’s resources, such as water. The latter is a major concern, with the groups concerned that a “toxic” battery cathode plant on the banks of the Colorado River could infect Austin’s water supply.
Environmentalists are also annoyed by the lack of progress on the promised “ecological paradise” Tesla CEO Elon Musk has tweeted about. The following is an excerpt from the group letter:
“To date, Tesla has failed to meaningfully engage local residents, and elected leaders have not applied enough pressure to bring the company to the table. Two years ago, Tesla was offered tens of millions of public dollars in tax breaks from an upcoming neighboring jurisdiction. here. The signed agreement and statement alludes to many possible community benefits but lacks specificity or enforcement provisions. Since 2020, we note that the company has cleared swaths of trees, removed mounds of soil, filled ponds, and poured over 100 hectares concrete adjoining land for its factory, with apparently no priority given to the creation of the promised “ecological paradise” by the river.
Public officials as well as neighbors have been left scratching their heads wondering whether the company will live up to one of its verbal commitments, or continue to operate with little regard for social or environmental responsibilities. The Tesla factory is another disturbing example of environmental injustice on the east side of Austin, following a long-standing pattern of polluting industrial projects concentrated near low-income communities of color, ignoring their negative impact on human health and the environment.”