Smooth snakes have rough day in court against Tesla

FRANKFURT — A German court has rejected a bid by environmentalists to halt tree cutting at Tesla’s proposed manufacturing site near Berlin, paving the way for the electric carmaker to proceed with plans to finalize construction of its Gigafactory.

Earlier this week, environmentalists went to court in the eastern city of Frankfurt an der Oder in an attempt to stop Tesla clearing a forest, arguing that cutting down more trees could endanger a hibernating species called the smooth snake.

The court said on Thursday it had rejected the appeal on the grounds that Tesla had taken sufficient measures to protect the reptiles by complying with requirements to capture and resettle them in an alternative habitat.

Tesla’s permission to start construction depends on a conditional approval by local authorities, who are obliged to consult environmental groups and the community.

The regional court in Frankfurt an der Oder reviewed a complaint by environmental group NABU, which argued that snakes and sand lizards could be put at risk by Tesla’s plans.

Environmentalists can appeal against the decision at a higher administrative court.


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