California is offering to waive its harsh environmental construction laws in order to keep the proposed Tesla battery factory in the state. Oh, and it will toss in $500 million of taxpayers’ money, too.
The governor’s package would speed up or skip over requirements for reviews by local and state government agencies intended to asses possible environmental threats posed by development, and offer up to $500 million in tax breaks, roughly equal to 10 percent of the Gigafactory’s estimated cost.
If you’re a small entrepreneur in the Golden State, hoping to build an addition to your factory to expand production of, say, pickup truck bed covers, and hire another two dozen workers, it’s jack shit for you, buddy, go to the end of the line and we’ll see you in three years. If, however, you’re the manufacturer of the latest “it” thing for the Green 1%ers, and you want to build a $5 billion toxic battery factory then hey, those rules aren’t so important after all, are they?
Which is how these things work; when politicians control economic development and can strangle it or get out of the way of it as they see fit, then it becomes very important for businesses to know, and woo, those politicians. If California’s environmental laws were as critical to preserving the land as those who wield them claim they are, then their application should be stricter, not eliminated, for a huge battery factory.
The fact that they’re being waived say all you need to know about the real game here. If I were Elon Musk I’d follow through with my plan to build the plant in Texas or Arizona because what can one day be bestowed by the King can just as easily be taken back, at the whim of the King. Hit the border and keep running, Elon.