San Antonio Denies Tesla’s Store Proposal Over Fear Of Groundwater Contamination From Leaking Batteries


SEP 11 2015 BY MARK KANE 87

Tesla in Texas

Tesla in Texas

Another spark between Tesla and Texas was recently reported in San Antonio.

Tesla can’t establish its first store in San Antonio to even present the cars, due to fear of groundwater contamination from leaking batteries.


“The city zoning commission denied approval for the facility last month out of concern that the water supply could be contaminated by electric car batteries on the 3.7-acre property, which is close to Leon Creek and is within the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone.

The commission’s denial went against the recommendation of SAWS, which approved Tesla’s plan as long as the company would keep only 10 batteries on the property.”

Tesla probably will try again to push the proposal for the store and service center, but nothing is easy in Texas if your name is Tesla.


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87 Comments on "San Antonio Denies Tesla’s Store Proposal Over Fear Of Groundwater Contamination From Leaking Batteries"

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Well, they can keep their silly Big Horn or Raptor or King Ranch trucks. They slam foreign companies but look at the crap they do to an all-American company bringing all-American jobs and tax revenue to the state.

Yeah, this is Outrageous Insanity.

Tesla should give up on Texas and open a store in New Zealand, just one store for the whole country would do.

All politics are local. I have no doubt that, if Mr. Musk and his team can rope the Californian Assembly and all of it’s political nut cases; then Texan Politicians can be ropped and corralled all in due time at a lower price. The COLA (or cost of business) in Texas is way cheaper, any fool knows that. Just watch, wait, and enjoy the results .

You have to f-ing kidding me! There isn’t any liquid in Tesla batteries! Yet I’m sure they’d allow a fracking to go ahead.

This is standard practice for right wing corruption. Right wing (big business) perform the atrocity, then accuse the other side of doing exactly what they (corrupt right wing big business) is guilty of doing. The crazy thing is a large portion of the population still fall for it, over and over and over and over again.

Exactly. It never ceases to amaze me…

There is no right or left just one party now the Progresive party

These comments are quite amusing and stereotypical as expected. The politically appointed local zoning commissioners of the liberal and 7th most populous city in the U.S. rejected a zoning change last month for a 24,000 sf Service and Retail center due to a few of them having environmental concerns about post-collision leaking batteries possibly contaminating the adjoining creek that feeds the local water supply. Tesla pulls the proposal from this month’s city council vote to work out further details to address the local concerns and it will likely be approved according to the conservative Councilmember whose district this is in who is in favor of the facility.
Sorry if that doesn’t fit in with a right wing big oil statewide conspiracy against clean energy generalization.

My mom is an avid Fox News watcher and holds positions that… I just can’t even go there.

She loves Tesla.

At the very least, Conservatives SHOULD love SpaceX. They’ve already reduced the cost of going to space by 70%. Yes, 70%! Anyone who hates govt spending should adore and admire SpaceX.

Not to mention that SpaceX is almost guaranteed to be the American company that takes astronauts to space instead of Russia.

Yet, for reasons beyond me (ok we know why…) Conservatives have tried blocking SpaceX just as much as Tesla. The ignorance and double-think would be funny if it weren’t having tangible, negative impacts.

They can’t stop fracking though. Tesla should open a fracking store in San Antonio.

wow – that’s really bad crony capitalism…

Everyone knows TX is known for their strict environmental protection laws and the inability for business to operate in TX due to the overwhelming amount of regulation in the state.

Tesla should move all operations to CA where the complete lack of regulation makes it easy for any business to bascially do whatever they want. In CA there is no need to pay lobbiests to bribe legislators so you can sell your goods like you have to in TX.

LOL. Best Joke Yet, like the state.

In Texas there are at least two tesla stores if not three. One in North Park Mall in Dallas, other in Galleria Houston and I am close to sure there is one in Austin. So, this is something between the City of San Antonio and Tesla, and the zoning and leak does not make any sense. People should calm down before picking their pitchforks, be my guest go criticize San Antonio city council, this has nothing to do with the State itself. Your outrage is misplaced.

No, our outrage is most certainly not misplaced. Texas is one of only five States which still refuse to allow Tesla to sell their cars from stores in the State.

Yeah, Tesla has some showrooms in Texas. Showrooms where Tesla employees are prohibited, by State law, from discussing sales with prospective customers, and prohibited from even telling potential customers where to go on the Internet to order one for themselves.

I’ve lived in Texas, and I have unfortunately had a lot of experience with the mindset of all too many Texans. If you think that this city commission’s refusal to allow Tesla to open a store there has nothing to do with Texas State politics, if you think it’s not part of a general pattern, then you need to learn more about the subject.

Think about all the liquids that seep out of gas stations, oil change stations, and auto repair places. Gasoline, antifreeze, brake fluid, oil, automatic transmission fluid, etc.

But what are they worried about? Leakage from a battery that does not even contain liquid!

Holy smokes, could the bias and hate be any more transparent?

It’s not the Devil you know, but the one you don’t.

Political corruption and stupidity often go hand in hand.

Go Texas! 😉

Sad, but true!

I thought it was Governor the Illinois and the Speaker Of New York that went to jail for corruption.

But you can only arrest someone for doing something illegal. Since the Texas State legislature is in the pocket of the State Auto Dealers’ Association and Big Oil, and since the legislature makes the laws, the corruption is legal.

Yeah, I agree fully.

Here’s what likely happened:

1. City council is briefed on batteries and possible concerns by local Chamber of Commerce lobby.

2. Said lobby has an inherent monetary bias to make batteries (possible competition) seem dangerous.

3. City council is convinced by the Chamber of Commerce that they’ve worked with, and even worked in (and vice versa) for decades.

4. City council passes a resolution citing the inherent dangers of “leaky batteries”.

Big oil owns Texas.

What we’re actually waiting for now is the simple minded old-school generation to die off so we can get some clear thinking modern staff in the county seat.

In Texas? I doubt a generational change will fix much. Texas has been the way it is for a very long time, and is proud of it.

Not a formula for change.

The internet should help. Free exchange of ideas will allow them to see how the world sees them. It will also expose them to new ideas they may have been sheltered from.

the problem with the internet is that it can, and is, used to spread misinformation.

For once I agree with “no comment”. Sadly, the Internet seems to be far better at spreading bad memes than truths.

Just look at the proliferation of hate groups and conspiracy theorists within the past 25 years or so. Traditionally, it was hard for such people to find others who shared their extreme and/or crazy views, because their portion of the population is fortunately so very low. But the Internet makes it easy for those with extreme fringe views to find each other, and reinforce their crazy and hateful beliefs.

Unnecessarily harsh on just the Internet.
It provides the broadest most open communication medium ever. That doesn’t mean the governments, corporations and the rich don’t try to control the message.

I’d blame the likes of Foxnews much more. Oligarchs controlling media outlets with insane consolidation of media outletswith agendas. Like Comcast owning nbc, the Murdoch empire etc.

Free information exchange, whether bad or good, is always better than controlled information exchange, or worse yet, no information exchange.

you’re spouting a nice libertarian line, but i’ve got some really bad news for you; the internet is a lot less “free” than it was 20 years ago and is much more controlled by corporate interests.

I dunno. Doesn’t cost me anything to type information here or read it. I can’t believe you are promoting less exchange of information.

“the problem with the internet is that it can, and is, used to spread misinformation.”

And, even worse, disinformation.

I can’t wait until I’m old enough that I’m the one holding up change.

I’m sure I’ll be 70 years old, and complaining about some new technology that I just don’t see the point of.

For the next few decades we’re waiting for them to pass away. Then, eventually, the next generation will wish the same for us, and it will most likely be for the better. Rinse, repeat.

The old ways die hard…but they do die…
¡Viva la revolución eléctrica!

Gosh, somebody sure is having fun using pretended environmental concern to block a “green tech” company from selling its products in Texas.

I seriously doubt the commission expects anyone to believe that’s what their real motive is. This seems to be a not-so-subtle method of the commission thumbing its nose at Tesla.

BTW — Tesla battery packs are so low in toxicity that they can be thrown legally into a landfill.

“BTW — Tesla battery packs are so low in toxicity that they can be thrown legally into a landfill.”

Mmm, I dunno about that. Other Li-Ion chemistry mixes like LiFePO can. But I don’t know about Tesla’s mix because they use Cobalt & Nickel which are both toxic heavy metals.

Well, that is what Tesla has claimed from the start, from even before the Roadster went into production. I haven’t seen the claim refuted by anyone.

“…our lithium ion cells contain no heavy metals, nor any toxic materials. In fact, our cells and ESS [Energy Storage System], by law, could be disposed of by putting them in a landfill.”


“But I don’t know about Tesla’s mix because they use Cobalt & Nickel which are both toxic heavy metals.”

There’s a big difference between containing metallic nickel and cobalt and containing a compound that has nickel and cobalt in it. The Tesla cells are the latter, which is why they are landfill safe.

NiCd batteries on the other hand contain the metallic versions of Nickel and Cadmium which makes them unsafe for the landfill.

Especially Cadium which is highly toxic and dissolved in ground water and can be absorbed by plants as well.

NiCad batteries should be banned and all existing supplies strictly recycled like Lead Acid batteries.

I don’t understand how anything could be legally thrown into a landfill at all. More than 99% could be resused, recycled, composted, used for energy etc.

I agree! Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Reprocess and at least compost if you can!

Oh, and on the topic the groundwater fear is just a sham. A single ICE car would be a bigger threat to the groundwater so how they could allow a regular car dealer that could have hundreds of cars is just ludicrous.

Even the very simple fact that every ICE vehicle HAS A BATTERY IN IT.

How many ICEs park at that mall every day?

Using gasoline as a comparison probably triggers their inherent biases, but comparing apples to apples with the fact that every single vehicle on the road ALREADY has a battery in it shows how absurdly stupid this is.

I am from San Antonio. This was a political decision. They need to be reminded of all of the new subdivisions they granted approval to over the acquifer, out US Hwy 281. Tesla needs to find some property away from the recharge zone. Should be easy. Tesla should be welcomed. Hmm, I bet they would not turn Apple away if they wanted to put in facility in the same area. Tesla come to New Braunfels or San Marcos. We would love to have you.

i’m embarrassed to admit it, but i used to live there also. when i found a job that got me out of that place, i was marking off days on my calendar with red X’s leading up to the day that i left.

If they want to be consistent and fair they should ban ICEs from the area.

Not because of leaky gasoline, but because every single ICE vehicle the world over (unless it’s hand cranked) has a battery in it!

Worried about leaking batteries? Well… open your hood, and tell me what you see.

This would all be so funny if it wasn’t so sad.

It would be interesting to see how many competing Luxury car are giving ‘honorariums’ to the city board for them to come up with such an inventive solution.

Apparently, no concern about the increased radiation in Texas from the fukushima accident 3rd of march, 2011; ongoing.

Or, the geo-engineering (crop-dusting) occurring pretty much nationwide,
but especially along the west-coast.

If they ever do have some battery pack explosions, I’d think the case the cells are in would provide a reasonable containment.

Tesla has already agreed not to have an excessive number of them around (10 max).

You’d think in view of the above, that the real polution sources are totally ignored (only Shasta County in California to my knowledge is the only governmental body officially complaining about the great damage done by the ‘crop dusting’), that they’d let things that have a track record of being ‘substantially safe’ (at least while stationary on display) they’d be a bit more lenient on.

Bill Howland said:

“Apparently, no concern about the increased radiation in Texas from the fukushima accident 3rd of march, 2011; ongoing.”

Well, I’m sure you could find all sorts of ridiculous things to waste your time worrying about, including worrying about the zombie apocalypse starting in Texas. But in the real world, any radioactive contamination from the Fukushima leak in North America, this many months after the initial event, is so tiny that detecting it would be impossible; it would be lost in background noise. I’m sure you can find conspiracy theorist websites which hysterically shriek the government is hiding the “true danger”, but rational people can easily ignore those, or better yet point and laugh at them.

Don’t ask him about Chem trails.

Yeah laugh it up guys. Enjoy it while you still can.

Oh, and be sure to go greatly in debt also, as unfortunately the typical american family unfortunately finds itself.

Why not have all kinds of problems befall you at once because for sure, you’ll have an exciting time of it, although not exciting in the way you might like.

Whaddya’ bet that the ‘Zoning Commission’ was told that Tesla uses Lead-Acid batteries to power their cars..
see also the (imaginary) Wiki article: Have Any government appointees ever been embarrassed by their uninformed decisions in the history of local politics? If forced to admit their ineptitude, were they replaced?

aren’t the chevrolet Volt and nissan Leaf sold in texASS?

i wish those guys would just go ahead and secede, then we can take all the federal money that we’re sending into place and keep it in *this* country.

I know that TX is large, but is the overall wealth low enough to receive more in Federal tax revenue than that paid?

To be fair, Texas isn’t one of the worst States as far as getting more from Federal funding than Texas taxpayers pay in Federal taxes. It’s quite near to the middle of the pack. But it does get back more than it pays in.

I work banquets in Florida for a historic hotel in the Tampa Bay area.

We are a favorite spot for the Chamber of Commerce to hold forums, meeting, planning sessions, etc.

The central topic of most every discussion is “How can we inform and present the ‘necessary’ information to our colleagues in the city council”.

They genuinely think they’re doing good things… because they’re always things that benefit them, their business, and “jobs”… even though they also lobby hard to fight higher wages, employee benefits, overtime pay, etc.

I’ve heard dozens of these sessions on a myriad of topics, and what amazes me the most is how passionately they feel that they’re doing the right thing.

Lots of people in this world think that there is no difference between “this benefits me” and “this benefits everyone”.

err 11th of march, dealerships.

As a politically-conservative EV driver, I can’t stand Fox News. Certainly these people have watched too much of it.

there is a reason why it’s called texASS.

But SpaceX is in TexASS right?

Their headquarters is in Hawthorne, California. They do have a testing facility in Texass.

Yes, but SpaceX does not run on electricity…

it makes sense for spaceX to put facilities in texASS to take advantage of the nasa space infrastructure located there.

the reason why the nasa command center got put in texASS was because lyndon johnson steered it there when he was president. john kennedy had planned to put the nasa command center in massachusetts, near the MIT campus, but kennedy got killed (in texASS, by the way) and when johnson took over he changed the plan. thus, today we have the nasa johnson space center in texASS.

Texas, the land of too-much regulation where enough ammonium nitrate fertilizer to flatten a small city doesn’t require a permit.

That same Texas?

It appears that the city zoning commission in San Antonio is just not being paid enough, or it has been paid nicely by maybe BIG OIL/SPECIAL INTEREST. I wonder if any of them go to church. Looks to me that when they speak they should be fined for air pollution. lot of cattle, lot of manure.

Let ’em all roll coal!

There is a greater volume of lead laced battery fluid on any decent sized ICE car lot in San Antonio and maybe even the large auto parts stores. Just because Tesla battery’s have a relatively huge amount of energy storage capacity doesn’t mean there is a proportionate amount of liquid in them. Not only that, the battery is built like a battleship to withstand road debris, whereas standard car batteries are encased in plastic.

This commission doesn’t bother with oil leaking in EVERY ICE car (one drop will ruin up to 25 litres of water) or rare metals falling from catalytic tails all over the roads I presume…

I agree that oil leaks are the biggest source of pollutions, especially since all the oil leaked will eventually make its way to ground water and/or surface water which will ultimately lead to the ocean…

“rare metals falling from catalytic tails all over the roads I presume”.

I am NOT sure if I agree with this statement. Do you mean the Platinum or Palladium used in the Catalyst converters? I don’t think those leaks if any it would be tracable amount.

I think this is a Texan response because Texas lost on the battery factory that is going up in Nevada. This is very stupid about ground water pollution. Diesel fuel is always being spilled and that fuel ends up going into the ground. Every diesel fuel station you can see all the spillage. Every time there is rain diesel fuel gets mixed with rainwater runoff. None of this happens with batteries


That’s the best excuse they could come up with?

Then Texas should ban all the Cellphones, Tablet and Laptop Computers, Digital Cameras, Power Tools and even Electric and Hybrid cars.

What a silly thing Texas is doing that no one could question. Their oil production is going down. Soon they will change their course.

Now that you mention it, I have noticed sticky, smelly, corrosive pools of lithium battery electrolyte surrounding Supercharger sites where many Model S’s charge. They were adjacent the oil-soaked parking spaces.

This has much more to do with the fact that Tesla passed on the San Antonio location for the GigaFactory, than batteries leaking into aquifers.

The wound is still fresh and they haven’t forgotten.

8 jobs at a “Gallery” isn’t going to make up for the 6000 jobs that were being dangled like a carrot last year.

More of the graft and coruption we vote for.

So when will they ban gas stations that all leak?

Hey San Antonio, time for a recall election.


Spongebob: Hey Patrick what am I now?
Patrick: Stupid?
Spongebob: No im Texas!
Patrick: Whats the difference?


More great publicity for Tesla. This is sure to sell more cars. Thank you Texas!

There’s your small gov’t cutting regulations on corporations in order to grow the economy….

When somebody begin using aguments like this, you know they have lost!

Easy enough, write off San Antonio. If those folks are that dumb, makes one wonder what else they think.

I’m sure there’s dozens of Texas communities that would welcome Tesla with open arms.

Being a former Texan I am embarrassed but not surprised. I do not believe this will stand up in court if challenged.
Another black eye for a Texas.

I’m curious, how exactly does one open a gas station in San Antonio?