Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland has reported that some German environmental groups believe that Tesla’s Giga Berlin is putting their drinking water at risk. The Green League and Naturschutzbund (Nabu) Brandenburg made an announcement claiming that important information was missing in order to assess whether or not the increase in water use would be sustainable, the article noted.
The groups are suing the German State Office for the Environment and believe that the tests for approval of the water supply by the waterworks agency are not available. These so-called environmental groups have not, in my opinion, been advocating for the environment but instead doing their best to stop Tesla’s progress in Germany.
In November, I wrote about this and pointed out the obvious. These groups are impeding important environmental progress. In that article, I shared how some of Tesla’s supporters on Twitter found that Nabu is connected with VW and the environmental group is actively supporting VW’s Blue Fleet program. While that’s not, in my opinion, a crime, it should be noted that VW is a competitor to Tesla and Germany is VW’s territory. That aside, the bigger issue is coal.
On Christmas Eve 2021, I wrote about how Brandenburg’s coal mine uses 171 times more water than Tesla’s Giga Berlin will ever need. The environmental groups are “worried” that Tesla will put the drinking water at risk but seem to be none too concerned about the local coal mine using the drinking water and possibly polluting it. … Are they on drugs?
According to BZ Berlin, the LEAG coal mine was supposed to only pump 42 million cubic meters of water in 2020. However, the mine has pumped out a total of 240 million cubic meters too much since 2017, leading to the drying up of rivers and lakes. Tesla will only need a fraction of that number — 1.4 cubic meters. In that article, I also touched up on the impacts of coal mining on water, and you can read all about that here.
Another Coal Horror Story and An Alarming Statistic
Last week, The Allegheny Front published an article about how the coal that powered the industrial revolution left behind an “absolutely massive” environmental catastrophe. The article included an interview with Emily Bernhard, a scientist at Duke University who is an ecosystem ecologist and biogeochemist. She’s been studying Appalachian strip mines and trying to understand the long-term impacts of coal for almost 20 years.
One thing she said in that interview that I found interesting (not the good and fun type of interesting, either) was that there are coal mines left over from the Roman Empire that are still emitting acid pollution. The Roman Empire was founded in 27 BC and fell 1,546 years ago. These mines are fairly old.
She also pointed out that blowing off the tops of mountains, which was done in the Appalachians, fundamentally alters the planet.
“We have actually changed the slope distribution of an entire ecoregion. So it’s a different shape than it was before. Water moves through it differently.”
The article also shared the horror story of a Kentucky landowner, Tracy Neece, who leased his land out to a coal mining company that ended up going bankrupt and leaving his land in a hazardous state. Neece said that at the time, it seemed like a good idea, and isn’t opposed to strip mining as long as the company is following the laws. Mining, he pointed out, fed many families and provided jobs.
However, Neece regrets signing the lease with James River Coal. He also wishes that Revelation, a bankrupt Blackjewel company that left the property in its current condition, had never taken over the James River lease after James River went bankrupt. The condition they left Neece’s land in is hazardous, to say the least. The article noted that anyone on an all-terrain vehicle could unknowingly drive off the top and that rocks could fall on homes down below. Rain could start landslides. Of Revelation, Neece said:
“They knew what they were doing. They just wanted to make a million dollars, you know, take everything they could and go. They had no intention of putting it back.”
Although this last article doesn’t have anything to do with Tesla or the LEAG mine in Brandenburg, I felt that it is a critical read and shares another aspect of just how negatively coal mining can affect our planet.
Coal mining was once a backbone of the American economy. And many countries still primarily utilize coal for electricity. (The US no longer does.) China is one such country. But back to the topic of Germany, Tesla, and these environmental groups. I fully believe that these groups are misplacing their criticism and are more focused on Tesla for ulterior motives rather than addressing the actual causes of the water issues in Brandenburg.
Don't want to miss a cleantech story? Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.