Tesla factory opening party for 15,000 faces backlash in Texas
You’re here. faces opposition from community and environmental groups over its plan to throw a party for 15,000 people to celebrate the opening of its plant in Austin.
The company intends to offer tours of the 8 million square foot facility, food and two stages with live music at the invitation-only event on April 7, according to plans submitted to the Travis County, which encompasses Austin. Authorities granted approval on Tuesday after hearing testimony from concerned neighbors.
Paul DiFiore, a representative for the Colorado River Conservancy and the Austin-based environmental justice group PODER, cited noise, blocked roads, construction dust and water pollution as problems.
“This grand opening is no substitute for real community engagement,” DiFiore said. “I urge you to consider rejecting this permit and forcing Tesla to delay their celebration until they begin to treat the Eastern Travis County community as more than a workforce for Elon Musk, but more like neighbors and partners.”
Musk, CEO of Tesla, has multiple operations in the Lone Star State, recently moved there itself and moved Tesla’s headquarters to Austin last year. In Brownsville, his SpaceX venture has helped reinvigorate the local economy, but has also generated pushback from residents who are feeling the influx of wealth and the surge in real estate prices that have accompanied it.
Tesla did not respond to a message seeking comment.
The company held a grand opening celebration Tuesday for its first European plant outside of Berlin. Police removed at least one protester who was blocking a road during a protest against the plant’s environmental impacts.