California May Break Environmental Rules For TeslaSubmitted by Jao171 on Wed, 08/13/2014 - 11:23
California lawmakers are considering waiving a more than four decade old environmental statute as they attempt to entice Tesla Motors Inc. to build a $5 Billion dollar battery factory in the state. The plan is being negotiated in the office of Gov. Jerry Brown. In addition to granting Tesla a waiver that would exempt the company from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the governor’s sales pitch also includes tax breaks that could be worth as much as $500 million (10% of the project total cost.)
The CEQA statute was passed in 1970 and was signed into law by then governor Ronald Reagan. CEQA does not regulate land use, rather it requires state and local agencies in California to follow a protocol of analysis and to disclose environmental impacts of proposed projects to the public. The statute also requires feasible measures to mitigate those impacts to be adopted. Your guess is as good as mine how the feasibility of mitigation plans is determined or which bureaucrat is responsible for making that call.
The Tesla battery plant would provide 6,500 jobs. California is competing with Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas for the factory that Tesla CEO Elon Musk refers to as his “gigafactory.” You can see why Californian politicians so badly want this factory to be built in California. You better believe the politicians would claim that they “created” 6,500 jobs when election time comes rolling around.
Not everyone in California is super excited to see lawmakers lower the environmental bar in order to allow a crony corporation to build a factory in the state, even if the factory is manufacturing batteries that fuel a liberal's fantasy, the electric car.
The LA Times reports what some unhappy environmentalist had to say about the proposal.