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Musk takes on German ecology critics of Tesla plant near Berlin

Elon Musk said concern that a Tesla assembly site in a rural area near Berlin would cause water shortages is exaggerated, pushing back against critics of the plant. “Sounds like we need to clear up a few things!” the carmaker’s CEO tweeted. “Tesla won’t use this much net water on a daily basis. It’s possibly a rare peak usage case, but not an everyday event.” Tesla still has to jump through hoops for the proposed plant, located in a water conservation zone in a forest bordering a nature preserve. Company documents that say the so-called Gigafactory 4 would need about 98,000 gallons of water per hour set off protests this month. Over the weekend, Musk cleared a different obstacle: unexploded World War II ordnance. Bomb disposal officers carried out controlled detonations of seven wartime bombs on Sunday at the site. Thousands of trees will be cleared in the first stage of development. The work needs to be done by the end of February to meet Tesla’s timetable for starting production in July 2021. Musk said the wooded area “is not a natural forest — it was planted for use as cardboard.” In a subsequent tweet, he said the “net environmental impact will be extremely positive!” — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Average US gas price falls 4 cents a gallon to $2.60

The average US price of regular-grade gasoline has declined 4 cents a gallon to $2.60 over the past two weeks. On Sunday, industry analyst Trilby Lundberg of the Lundberg Survey said that the pump price responded to a drop in crude oil costs. The highest average price in the nation is $3.58 per gallon, in Honolulu; the lowest is $2.16, in Houston. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Workers criticize Amazon on climate despite risk to jobs

Hundreds of employees are criticizing Amazon’s record on climate change despite what they say is a company policy that puts their jobs at risk for speaking out. On Sunday, more than 300 employees signed their names and job titles to online statements on Medium. The protest was organized by Amazon Employees For Climate Justice. Founded by Amazon workers, it said earlier this month that the company had sent letters threatening to fire them if they continued to speak to the press. “It’s our moral responsibility to speak up, and the changes to the communications policy are censoring us from exercising that responsibility,’’ said Sarah Tracy, a software development engineer. Amazon did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Sunday. Amazon, which relies on fossil fuels to power planes, trucks, and vans that ship its packages, has an enormous carbon footprint. And Amazon workers have been vocal in criticizing some of its practices. Last year, more than 8,000 signed an open letter to CEO and founder Jeff Bezos demanding that Amazon cut its carbon emissions, end use of fossil fuels, and stop its work with oil companies that use Amazon’s technology to locate fossil fuel deposits. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Ex-Fox anchor Carlson to highlight non-disclosure agreements

The former Fox News anchor whose sexual harassment lawsuit led to the downfall of then-Fox News chairman Roger Ailes is scheduled to visit the Massachusetts State House to highlight the continued use of nondisclosure agreements. Gretchen Carlson, whose lawsuit is included in the film “Bombshell,’’ has pushed to ban mandatory NDAs, confidentiality provisions, and forced arbitration clauses that critics say seek to silence workers who want to speak publicly about toxic workplace conditions. Julie Roginsky, who also sued Ailes, alleging sexual harassment, plans to attend a Monday press conference with Carlson. Ailes denied the allegations but was ousted from the network. He died in 2017. State Senator Diana DiZoglio also plans to join the event. “It is beyond past time that the abuse of nondisclosure agreements come to an end in the Commonwealth,” said the Methuen Democrat. — ASSOCIATED PRESS