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Tesla’s new Texas factory is throwing a party — and locals aren’t happy

Tesla is planning to hold a massive, 15,000-person bash to celebrate the grand opening of its gigafactory in Austin — and the shindig has local community and environmental groups up in arms. Locals raised objections to a permit that was granted to Elon Musk’s electric car maker for an April 7 party at the company’s new 8 million-square-foot headquarters. Travis County officials signed off on the invite-only event, which will include two stages with live music, food, and a fireworks display, Bloomberg reported. Paul DiFiore, who represents the Colorado River Conservancy and the Austin-based group PODER, said that the event will generate noise, force road closures, kick up dust from construction, and increase water pollution. “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 Post has reached out to Tesla seeking comment. Tesla last year officially moved its headquarters from Palo Alto, California, to Austin, Texas. At the time, Musk cited the rising cost of living in the Golden State as a key factor in his decision to relocate company headquarters. Musk first announced the plans to move the company to Texas in October, adding the caveat that Tesla will continue “to expand our activities in California, so this is not a matter of, sort of, Tesla leaving California.” The Austin gigafactory is about five minutes from the nearest airport and 15 minutes from the city’s downtown. In its most recent earnings report, Tesla said that it had already started producing the Model Y sedan at the gigafactory. Musk, also the leader of SpaceX, moved from California to Texas himself last year that was the start of a very public breakup with Silicon Valley. The HQ move came a little over a year after he first threatened to move Tesla to Texas or Nevada amid a fight with California state health officials over COVID-19 restrictions. The company was told it couldn’t reopen its factory last year when the coronavirus shutdown measures were still in effect. Musk has been in a partying mood as of late — with good reason. The world’s richest man danced onstage Tuesday as Tesla officially opened its $5.5 billion manufacturing plant in Germany — an event that was delayed for months due to local resistance from some government officials and environmental activists. Musk presented the first Tesla Model Y cars to 30 customers in attendance at the event lauding the start of production of what his company has dubbed Gigafactory Berlin. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was also in attendance. The facility is Tesla’s first European manufacturing hub — allowing the company to produce and deliver cars within the content without relying on its facilities in the US and China.

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