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Tesla Plant Faces Backlash Over Planned 15,000 Person Opening Party

A location at the Austin city limits is, ironically, being asked not to host a musical event by some locals. The controversy surrounds a large party being planned by Tesla to open its new plant in Texas.

For the party, the company intends to host up to 15,000 people and offer tours of the eight million-square-foot facility, and host two stages with live music at the invite-only event on April 7. That’s according to plans submitted to Travis County, in which Austin is located, and approved on Tuesday despite concerns from neighbors, reports Bloomberg.

Those opposed to the event, including Paul DiFiore, a representative of the Colorado River Conservancy and the Austin-based environmental-justice group PODER, object to the noise pollution, the blocked roads, dust from construction, and water pollution from the event.

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“This grand opening is not a substitute for real community engagement,” DiFiore said. “I urge you to consider rejecting this permit and forcing Tesla to delay their celebration until they start treating the community in Eastern Travis County as more than a workforce for Elon Musk but rather as neighbors and partners.”

The concerns follow protests at an event held this week at Tesla’s new plant near Berlin, Germany. That plant was criticized for its environmental impact at police removed at least one protestor who attempted to block a road near it.

The German plant’s construction was delayed for months as local authorities investigated it for allegedly flouting local plumbing regulations that could have seen nearby drinking water become contaminated.

Tesla’s Austin factory, meanwhile, will first produce the Model Y compact crossover but it will also eventually be able to make the Model 3 small sedan and the Cybertruck pickup, as well as the company’s upcoming all-electric Semi truck. Tesla has said it will have the capacity to make as many as 500,000 Model Ys per year.

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