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California May Waive Environmental Rules For Tesla

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the mother-earth-plays-second-fiddle-to-mother-economy dept.

Transportation 327

cartechboy writes: We all know Tesla is working on its Gigafactory, and it has yet to announce officially where it will be. But the automaker did announce a shortlist of possible locations, and California wasn't on it. The state has quickly been trying to lure Tesla to get back into contention. Now the state may waive environmental rules which would normally make construction of such a large manufacturing facility more difficult. Apparently, Governor Jerry Brown's office is currently negotiating an incentive package for Tesla that would waive certain parts of the nearly half-century-old California Environmental Quality Act. Not only that, but state officials are reportedly considering letting Tesla begin construction and perform damage mitigation later, along with limiting lawsuits that could slow down the project. Let's not forget some massive tax breaks, to the tune of $500 million. Is California stepping out of bounds here?

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So, such rules are bad for keeping people working? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47666475)

Surprise, surprise, surprise!

Re:So, such rules are bad for keeping people worki (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47666611)

The only purpose of technological advance is to reduce the time people need to spend working.

The Protestant "Arbeit macht frei" work ethic is horrid and it is a shame that it has not been consigned to the dustbin of history.

Re:So, such rules are bad for keeping people worki (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47666659)

The only purpose of technological advance is to reduce the effort necessary to keep people subservient to their masters.

FTFY

Re:So, such rules are bad for keeping people worki (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 months ago | (#47666661)

Peasants working less?

What are you, a commie? The plebs are not allowed spare time, or they might find out how we bullshit them into compliance!

Re:So, such rules are bad for keeping people worki (1)

khallow (566160) | about 3 months ago | (#47666903)

The only purpose of technological advance is to reduce the time people need to spend working.

Surprise, people have other priorities than merely working less.

Re:So, such rules are bad for keeping people worki (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47667069)

And because of that, we have to keep working? We reduced the average worker's schedule from 12 hour workdays 7 days a week to the 40 hour week... with late 19th century technology.

But you're happy with that not changing in over a century, because of your neuroses? Despite all the "productivity" and technology and game changers we keep hearing about??

You're a horrid person.

Re:So, such rules are bad for keeping people worki (0)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 3 months ago | (#47667279)

Surprise, people have other priorities than merely working less.

And by "people", you mean corporations.

Re:So, such rules are bad for keeping people worki (2)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | about 3 months ago | (#47666719)

Sure, when you have to race to the bottom.

Re:So, such rules are bad for keeping people worki (3, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 3 months ago | (#47666993)

We need to have environmental protections, but many of California's regulations are ridiculous. Every business owner has to post a notice that their customers might get cancer if they eat the toner in the fax machine, or drink the toilet cleaner. The requirements for contaminants in waste water from semiconductor plants is more stringent than for tap water. So the semiconductor plants have mostly left the state, and taken the jobs with them. For at least the last ten years, California has had an unemployment rate about two points above the national average.

The solution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47667359)

is to dial back the restrictions for everybody then, not give specific influential moneyed interests both environmental waivers and tax exemptions.

They did a similiar thing in Sacramento allowing Nestle to buy water for their bottled water at the residential rates while purchasing commercial quantities. And then they're telling us we have to cut back on our water consumption while also raising our rates...

I've got 10 mod points (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47666477)

Do you feel lucky?

Re:I've got 10 mod points (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47666495)

How do you get 10? I only even get 5 at a time.

Re:I've got 10 mod points (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47666555)

Good karma, I guess. 15 points a pop.

Re:I've got 10 mod points (-1, Offtopic)

jones_supa (887896) | about 3 months ago | (#47666597)

I don't even remember when I have got mod points the last time. It's been over a year at least. :smoke:

Screwed... (4, Insightful)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 3 months ago | (#47666487)

Californians are stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to this shit: they've got state regulations that do a better job (at least better than anywhere else in the US, with the possible exception of Hawaii) of limiting their exposure to nasty, carcinogenic shit, environmentally-devastating corporate irresponsibility, etc etc... but as long as there are cheaper places with less regulations to run a business (Texas, Mexico, China...), that's where industry's going to go. And California will continue it's steady slide down the economic toilet.

Re:Screwed... (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 3 months ago | (#47666511)

it's

Apostrophe not intended... :p

Re:Screwed... (5, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | about 3 months ago | (#47666553)

Somewhat true, but the regulations really could use an overhaul in the efficiency department. I'm fine with high standards, but if the standard is met, it should be possible to get approval in a reasonable amount of time without spending an inordinate amount of money on the process, and with a reasonable degree of finality (rather than having a million different ways to reopen a court challenge). California's patchwork of regulations is kind of a mess in that department, which is even causing problems for the state itself; the high-speed rail plan has been mired in the process and lawsuits over the process that state law permits a very wide range of people to file. (Granted, it's not all CA law that's the problem in that case; there are also people trying to slow down the process using federal agencies and lawsuits.)

Re:Screwed... (3, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 3 months ago | (#47667151)

The HSR system is already 1) More expensive than they promised, 2) Already behind schedule, 3) Not really feasible, 4) will cost more than a half a dozen round trip plane tickets for every man, woman, child in the state (legal and illegal) BEFORE the first passenger buys a $120 one way ticket (and the huge state subsidy).

I hope it dies a horrible death. There is no possible way to justify the expense.

Re:Screwed... (1)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 3 months ago | (#47666557)

Doesn't California have both silicon valley and hollywood? How is it sliding into the "economic toilet"?

Re:Screwed... (1)

preaction (1526109) | about 3 months ago | (#47666609)

Neither one trips many environmental triggers, except the steady stream of self-indulgent bullshit that both produce.

Re:Screwed... (1)

citizenr (871508) | about 3 months ago | (#47667351)

HAAHAHAHA, you must have zero clue about environmental impact of a chip fab.

Re:Screwed... (1)

Charcharodon (611187) | about 3 months ago | (#47667089)

That's about all they have....and oh half the state is on welfare.

Re:Screwed... (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 3 months ago | (#47667329)

That's about all they have....and oh half the state is on welfare.

I bet you don't know that California's welfare caseload today is about half of what it was when Ronald Reagan left office. The percentage of Californians on welfare is under 4%, according to that left-wing website Forbes.

http://www.ppic.org/main/publi... [ppic.org]

Man, you gotta break that Fox News habit.

Speaking of being screwed... Beta site going live? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47666593)

I just got this at the top of my /. page:

Slashdot will undergo planned maintenance from Thursday August 14, 5-6pm (Eastern Time). slashdot.org and beta.slashdot.org may be limited in functionality or unavailable during that time.

Does anyone know what that really means? Does it mean that the totally shit beta site will be going live then, totally replacing the old site, driving many of us away from /. forever?

Re:Speaking of being screwed... Beta site going li (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 3 months ago | (#47667007)

I was wondering about that myself

Re:Screwed... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47666615)

> And California will continue it's steady slide down the economic toilet.

What slide? [latimes.com]

You want slide, look at this place. [businessweek.com]

Re:Screwed... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47666617)

So the state (of which I am an unhappy citizen) can use environmental laws to harass the shit of out walmart, chevron and and other business not in favor, but simply be waived for favored industries ? In the name of money ? I hope someone sues the state

Re:Screwed... (5, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | about 3 months ago | (#47666821)

So the state (of which I am an unhappy citizen) can use environmental laws to harass the shit of out walmart, chevron and and other business not in favor, but simply be waived for favored industries ? In the name of money ? I hope someone sues the state

Yeah, it's called picking the winners and losers. Someone always is suing the state for something or other, but I don't expect much movement on this issue. The state (most states, I suspect) will continue to favor the hip and trendy businesses at the expense of businesses they don't like.

But you can't blame Musk for considering the deal. Because hey, free money.

Re:Screwed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47667229)

If you ever fall off the roof of a tall building, just go real limp, because maybe you'll look like a big bag of money and people will try to catch you because, hey, free money.

Re:Screwed... (1)

hondo77 (324058) | about 3 months ago | (#47666933)

So the state (of which I am an unhappy citizen)...

So move, or do you just like whining?

Re:Screwed... (3, Insightful)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 3 months ago | (#47667031)

they probably approach it similarly: "Tesla, if it is wildly successful will reduce overall emissions, therefore it makes sense to take a small amount of potential damage on this plant, in order to reduce overall pollution down the line"

Not justifying it personally, but i can see why they'd reach that conclusion.

Re:Screwed... (2)

Charcharodon (611187) | about 3 months ago | (#47667097)

I highly doubt their thoughts are so benevolent.

This is about money pure and simple.

Possibly not screwed (2)

ron_ivi (607351) | about 3 months ago | (#47666707)

Sounds like the article's discussing the way in which it's not screwed.

There are circumstances under which such rules can be waived.

I especially hope they wave them, because Tesla's almost certainly a net-benefit to California's environment anyway (by making the industry wake up to electric vehicles when traditional automakers seemed like they were intentionally failing).

Re:Possibly not screwed (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 3 months ago | (#47666891)

Sounds like the article's discussing the way in which it's not screwed.

There are circumstances under which such rules can be waived.

I especially hope they wave them, because Tesla's almost certainly a net-benefit to California's environment anyway (by making the industry wake up to electric vehicles when traditional automakers seemed like they were intentionally failing).

Driving electric vehicles may be good for the environment, but producing them is not necessarily so. At least not locally.

Re:Screwed... (5, Informative)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about 3 months ago | (#47666737)

but as long as there are cheaper places with less regulations to run a business (Texas, Mexico, China...), that's where industry's going to go. And California will continue it's steady slide down the economic toilet.

You think so? From here [ca.gov] :

California added almost 320,000 new jobs in 2013 and over 1.17 million new jobs since the end of the recession.

California's GDP growth rate was 3.5 percent in 2012 – fifth best in the nation.

Where other states have one or two main economic sectors, California has several -- all of which lead the nation. California is first in high tech, biotech, agriculture, entertainment, manufacturing, tourism and more.

California is by far the number one state for manufacturing jobs, firms and output – accounting for 11.7 percent of the total output, and employing 9 percent of the workforce. CA manufacturing generates $229.9 billion, more than any other state.

Information technology jobs have rebounded and exceeded pre-recession levels. California remains the top state for information technology jobs which drives venture capital investment, patents, innovation and ultimately the strength of our workforce.

California’s 2,324 biomedical companies employ 269,976 people. This industry accounts for $115 billion in annual revenues – which is more than the annual Gross State Product of 18 U.S. states.

Where's that "economic toilet" you're talking about?

Re:Screwed... (0)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 3 months ago | (#47667039)

Why are they perpetually running budget deficits then?

Re:Screwed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47667113)

What are the small business numbers in California? From my personal experience I have seen small business be absolutely chased out of the state.

Re:Screwed... (1)

Ryanrule (1657199) | about 3 months ago | (#47667219)

what do you call startups?

Re:Screwed... (1)

dbc (135354) | about 3 months ago | (#47667323)

Companies that have a small HQ staff within a short drive of Sand Hill Road, and manufacturing (if any) in China. Or maybe rack space in Washington state.

Startups just haven't yet reached the scale where moving out becomes a no-brainer.

Now, as for small companies that are *not* funded by VC's, they simply start in Nevada. You would have to be an idiot to do any kind of individual proprietorship business that doesn't have to be local in silicon valley. If you are a hardwood floor contractor, sure, some will still be here because some are needed. And when you have your floors done, you pay more than other places because his California contractor business license is 10X what it would be elsewhere. But the last machine shop moved out of California long ago, unless they are very specialized in a way where locality to a key customer makes a big difference.

Re:Screwed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47667311)

Pretty sure he meant economic toilet literally [dornob.com] .

Re:Screwed... (1)

exabrial (818005) | about 3 months ago | (#47666773)

I love in California how there are warning labels on everything. And no one cares.

Re:Screwed... (1)

mirix (1649853) | about 3 months ago | (#47666781)

CA still out-manufactures every other state. second place is texas, Though CA has a bigger population.

It's had some decline in manufacturing, sure, but it's never going to be like detroit. Hell, even if they quit making things entirely - CA will never be detroit, between IT, hollywood, tourism, service BS, etc.

Re:Screwed... (1)

khallow (566160) | about 3 months ago | (#47666831)

Hell, even if they quit making things entirely - CA will never be detroit, between IT, hollywood, tourism, service BS, etc.

Unless it drives those industries out as well. Current diversity of their economy doesn't matter, if no one stays. I think California is well on its way to be yet another history lesson on the parable of killing the golden goose.

Crony Capitalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47666489)

Instead of waiving the rules for certain companies, get rid of those rules.

Yes (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47666497)

"Is California stepping out of bounds here?"
California is like breakfast cereal - what isn't fruits, or nuts, are flakes...

Probably the Projects that Need It (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47666513)

It's kind of funny ... these big money, massive development sorts of projects are probably the ones that most need to have the environmental review that the law was put in place for.

So Joe Blow with his small business needs to go through all the red tape, but big ol' money making Elon Musk can avoid them. I can understand the impetus behind it ... lets get that money and those jobs into our state. But isn't it selling out a little, as well unfairly burdening the little guy?

Re:Probably the Projects that Need It (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47666685)

Selling out a little? More like Jerry Brown is a disease infected crack whore.

Re:Probably the Projects that Need It (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47666811)

The Dims like to pretend that they can tax the ultra rich to pay for their policies, but the ultra rich just hire accountants to bypass the taxes and leave the middle class holding the bag; they pass onerous environmental regs that are not applied to the biggest, richest players. Business regulations and taxes by the Democrats all hit the Middle Class and never affect the really rich. It is left to the suckers to vote for them.

How easily can the waiver be pulled? (4, Insightful)

mlts (1038732) | about 3 months ago | (#47666517)

Yes, the rules are waived... for now.

However, how easily can that waiver be pulled? Is Tesla standing with a just flick of a governor's pen between them and having to shutter the entire factory, or is there some due process in place so they can't be shut down if they don't toe the politicians' line exactly?

Incentives like this are common in all states (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47666651)

In some cases, it can be cash upfront for jobs. A town council I lived near got in trouble with that as the company took the cash and ran. All political negotiations are a form of corruption as they are at best something bad for the people for something good. Similar laws could be introduced in states after the factory is built. It is more a question of how pliable the politicians are in a given jurisdiction and if the people will allow them to keep being so 'helpful'. In other words as long as you are friendly, you want the most corrupt politician. When building gigafactories it would be great if all the laws were straight and just, but it is just impossible at that level of importance. A lot of out right bribery and personal demands from politicians and officials will also likely be involved no matter what. Power corrupts and something this important involves a lot of power.

Re:How easily can the waiver be pulled? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47666847)

Its CA... if Tesla builds there and doesn't toe the line completely, they lose their business. Might be better for them to build in a state that at least has to *pass* laws that shut down down rather than some muckety much pulling the waiver (and thus Tesla's entire operations) with a single stroke of a pen. Good luck with due process...

Re:How easily can the waiver be pulled? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47666893)

CEQU, the item being waved, is a requirement for a building permit. Once the permitted work is complete you may continue to operate the building as constructed. But you make a good point: need to redesign an interior office space to accommodate more workers, here comes CEQU again.

Globalism on a national scale (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47666519)

If you have enough money, the government will make it legal.

To be honest... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47666525)

I'd rather California get the money than Arizona... I dislike corporatations fueling (investing) in ignorance in the states. These low tax states keep citizens poor, and voting against their own best intentions because they're ignorant as shit. It fuels itself.

While California ain't perfect-- it's sure a helluva lot more forward thinking and progressive than a rival like Arizona (which I believe has been in the lead).

Re:To be honest... (1)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | about 3 months ago | (#47666595)

Education has (with a few notable exceptions) reduced ignorance, and better educated people have been shown to be more forward thinking and progressive. Education is usually paid for by property tax. Property tax is paid for by working people with jobs.

So you've argued effectively for the case of locating a factory in a place with unemployed and ignorant people, to most effectively alter the country to your political specification.

How do you explain the evidence, though? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47666735)

I'd like to believe what you're saying, but I'm not sure that I can when I look at the evidence.

So there are highly-educated people working at places like Google, Apple, Mozilla and Microsoft, right? There are also highly-educated people working on lots of major open source software projects like GNOME and Firefox, right? And a lot of them live in progressive places like the states of California and Washington, right?

So how the fuck did the new awful Google Maps happen? How did the horrible iOS 7 and the upcoming horrible OS X 10.10 UIs happen? How did the fucking disaster that's Firefox's new Australis UI happen? How did the awful Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 UIs happen? How did GNOME 3, the most screwed up open source atrocity of all time, happen?

These aren't isolated incidents. It's one major debacle after another, all within the past few years. But we do see some things in common, like the involvement of highly-educated people, and those living on or near the American West Coast. Why do we see so many of these well-educated, progressive people making such blatantly stupid mistakes, time and time again? How do you explain that?

Re:How do you explain the evidence, though? (1)

Xenx (2211586) | about 3 months ago | (#47666929)

I explain it as what people want and need aren't always the same. People want the big UI change. They want to see the new thing that'll make life easier. And then they'll get frustrated and want it back the way it was.

Re:To be honest... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47666637)

Fortunately, asshats like you have exactly zero input into where people who actually know how to run a company build theirs. And that's a very, very good thing!

Re:To be honest... (1)

Charcharodon (611187) | about 3 months ago | (#47667121)

Wait? What? You are talking about California? The capital state of the armies of the idiotic.

What Rules? (2)

d34thm0nk3y (653414) | about 3 months ago | (#47666559)

I was curious about what rules would be waived so actually read the article. This article says almost nothing. And the supposedly supporting link on 'waive the rules' doesn't go anywhere. About all I can tell is that they will let them do their Impact Assessment as they begin construction instead of ahead of time.

Seems like much ado about nothing unless anyone has some real info.

Impact assesment (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47666713)

Two things ... 1) Doing the impact assessment means that the impact assessment is irrelevant. 2) The impact assessment takes 2 years + court battles for a project of that magnitude. By not completing the assessment, they skip the arbitrarily long court battles.

It's just a battery factory (3, Informative)

Animats (122034) | about 3 months ago | (#47666569)

It's just a battery factory. It's unlikely it will employ that many people. Tesla says 6500, but that's probably exaggerated, including the construction phase. The battery factory for the Chevy Volt has only 100 people. It's a big, highly automated plant.

Re:It's just a battery factory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47666689)

This: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhopal_disaster

Re:It's just a battery factory (1)

khallow (566160) | about 3 months ago | (#47666871)

That was a factory manufacturing and using large amounts of very hazardous chemicals under dangerous and slipshod conditions. There's nothing comparable in risk at the previously mentioned battery factory.

Re:It's just a battery factory (-1, Troll)

Tailhook (98486) | about 3 months ago | (#47667339)

OMG you ignorant fuck. Tesla batteries are made of wonderful shit like Nickel. A fire in such a plant could loft heinous amounts of contaminates which would promptly precipitate out in the vicinity downwind of the plant.

Do you want cancer with that battery? [fool.com]
January 19, 2014

Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy undertook a study to look at the environmental impact of lithium-ion batteries for EVs. The study showed that batteries that use cathodes with nickel and cobalt, as well as solvent-based electrode processing, have the highest potential for environmental impacts, including resource depletion, global warming, ecological toxicity, and human health. The largest contributing processes include those associated with the production, processing, and use of cobalt and nickel metal compounds, which may cause adverse respiratory, pulmonary, and neurological effects in those exposed.

This is what CA is throwing it's precious regs under the bus for; it's politically correct industrial golden boy.

You know what the worst part of all this happy horseshit is? At the end of the day all we're really doing is off-shoring our impact. The elements that Tesla is going to need to feed this "giga" factory are going to come from Africa and Asia, far beyond the reach of EPA, DOE, OHSA, NLRB and the rest of the gang;

Tesla’s Gigafactory: Needs 6 new graphite mines, but where will cobalt be sourced? [mining.com]

Nickel refining is particularly heinous. It's worse for the environment than copper mining and refining. Downwind of a third world nickel mine or refinery is a dead zone. That's why we won't tolerate it [npr.org] near ourselves anymore.

And yeah, doesn't this story just put the lie right to the Left when they argue how environmentalism and economy aren't in conflict. And what happened to Tesla here? Playing one state off against another for regulatory wavers? Tsk tsk.

All these regs and legislated morality have a price. It really does. I'm sorry about that. A magic fairy wand would be nice, but we don't have one. Get that through your la-la land head and grow up a little.

The only thing out of bounds (3, Insightful)

taustin (171655) | about 3 months ago | (#47666581)

is that they're talking about exceptions, and not simply getting rid of the massive regulations that have killed businesses for years.

We now have state inspectors go through out trash cans looking for light bulbs. We will not, ever, be in a position to negotiate an exemption.

It would be amusing to see someone file a lawsuit - at the federal level - for equal protection violations. A class action lawsuit, with the class being everyone who is not eligible for the exemption. Or maybe a RICO lawsuit, since this is certainly affecting interstate commerce.

It wouldn't be the first time a government agency in California [go.com] has been sued for RICO violations. And certainly won't be the last.

Race to the bottom (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47666599)

Sad to see even CA isn't immune from the impact of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_to_the_bottom ...

This isn't 'nam! (5, Insightful)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about 3 months ago | (#47666619)

There are rules. Either you have environmental protection laws or you don't. If you have them, don't start making exceptions to them because anyone who didn't get an exception and lost money as a result can (and should!) sue the everlasting shit out of you. If there's a problem with your laws, repeal them and replace them with more sensible ones.

Re:This isn't 'nam! (2)

gman003 (1693318) | about 3 months ago | (#47667201)

On the other hand, an exception could be made on the grounds that it would make electric cars more common, which would be a net gain for the environment even with a polluting factory. This really doesn't sound like they're using this justification, but it's a possible one.

Hey People's Republic Of California! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47666623)

We have laws and due process in this country! As much as I like Tesla, go look up "Equal Protection Under The Law" and get back to me. Kthxbye.

Of couse they will (1)

amightywind (691887) | about 3 months ago | (#47666665)

Of course they will. Tesla and Elon Musk have always been Cali's crony friend. This country is headed downhill fast.

This would be bad PR for Tesla (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47666679)

If I were Tesla, I'd go to lengths to adhere to those waived environmental regulations should the final choice for the Gigafactory be California. Doing anything less would result in a lovely soundbite for the detractors who want to complain about how Tesla, and by extension electric cars, are actually really, really horrible for the environment. And we have enough of those idiots running around as it is.

The CA State Legislature needs to learn ... (4, Interesting)

perpenso (1613749) | about 3 months ago | (#47666681)

Is California stepping out of bounds here?

Maybe, maybe not ... the devil is in the details.

California does go overboard on regulations. I'm saying this based on conversations with a friend who has an environmental remediation business cleaning up other people's industrial messes or preventing the messes in the first place. He's quite the environmentalist, an environmentalist of the scientific school of thought not the political school of thought. The State Legislature is more of the later. If it "sounds" pro-environment "pass it" is their approach. If its useless or counterproductive it doesn't matter, it just has to sound like a good thing.

If Tesla is only getting breaks on the sillier stuff it may be a good idea.

Now on the legal side, California is a nightmare. The State Legislature is bought and paid for by the trial lawyers.

One word (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47666705)

There is a word for making special exceptions in the law: corruption

Should be on the ballot. (1)

cooljack (671074) | about 3 months ago | (#47666747)

This seems to be a big enough decision for a ballot measure. Even though it would be nice to have that factory here, I think it is a mistake to make all those concessions.

BOOO (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 3 months ago | (#47666751)

Waivers for individual companies (or tailored so that they only apply to one company in practice) really suck. How is this the rule of law? It's a popularity contest. Worse, it favors only big companies with enough sway to browbeat the government. If anything, we should be working towards better global standards to clamp down on regulation-shopping. At least, goods should be produced under similar regulations to those where they will be consumed, otherwise local industry is unfairly undermined and externalities are rampant.

Don't take the bait! (1, Troll)

Third Position (1725934) | about 3 months ago | (#47666761)

If Musk is as smart as I think he is, he's not gonna touch California with a ten foot pole no matter what they dangle in front of his nose. Don't feed the parasites! Just let the bloodsuckers collapse under the weight of their own stupidity. He'd be doing the rest of the country one huge favor.

Re:Don't take the bait! (1)

mspohr (589790) | about 3 months ago | (#47666841)

I hate to break it to you but Tesla has its head office, design center and factory in California.
SpaceX (another Musk venture) is also in California... not to mention that little company he sold a few years ago, PayPal.
It seems that Musk is already heavily committed to California even if the battery factory goes elsewhere (Reno, Nevada is looking like a good option since they have already done site prep work there).

Re:Don't take the bait! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47666971)

big difference between housing corporate offices and internet companies than massive scale manufacturing facilities that deal with some mildly toxic goods

Re:Don't take the bait! (2)

Third Position (1725934) | about 3 months ago | (#47667073)

Apparently he's learned his lesson, given that Spacex is building it's new spaceport in Texas. [gizmag.com]

You tell me - which do think is going to employ more people and contribute more to an economy? Corporate offices, or factories and space ports?

Meh, bargaining tactic (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about 3 months ago | (#47666935)

It's not that bad. Even worst case, it can be like a major organization making motions to move away from Windows towards Linux. The moment they do so, Microsoft, California and such start offering massive deals.

IE if Musk spends $1M surveying sites outside of the state of California and gets $300M in concessions from California to build the factory there? That's a rather crazy return on investment...

Is California stepping out of bounds here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47666769)

Why? Just because it is suspending established law enforced on everyone else to try to pump public money into the pocket of a notorious fellow liberal? Whatever put THAT idea in your head? It's just good, sound, selective enforcement. Standard Operating Procedure for Democrats. Nobody believes in that "Equal protection under the law" crap any more! Wake up and smell the corruption!

Continuing/Expanding a very bad precedent (1)

Bugler412 (2610815) | about 3 months ago | (#47666791)

Sometime in the late 70's, government's started bribing large companies using huge tax breaks, relaxation of regulations, land grants, etc. using taxpayer money. This has led to very little except badness and a culture of auctioning business locations to the highest (or lowest?) bidder. Nothing good has come of that atmosphere and it's continuing to get worse. How to stop it though?

Re:Continuing/Expanding a very bad precedent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47666829)

Don't put in unfair taxes and regulations in the first place and there is little incentive or reward for cheating.

Waving inconvient laws (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about 3 months ago | (#47666795)

Damn talk about picking winners and losers. Our laws suck so we'll wave them just for you. California the state of kings and proud of it.

Is Tesla "green"? (1)

mi (197448) | about 3 months ago | (#47666809)

waive certain parts of the nearly half-century-old California Environmental Quality Act

This seems to affirm the giant elephant in the "save the Earth" room: Tesla (as well as other products relying on highly-capable batteries) aren't all that "green" [fool.com] . It may be a great car to drive, but if one needs violates environmental regulations — and not the recent ones — to make it, then green it is not.

Oh, and then comes the problem of disposing of those wonderful batteries — or recycling them [fool.com] ...

Re:Is Tesla "green"? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47666843)

Somewhere in teabagistan there is a astroturf movement missing its dittohead.

Re:Is Tesla "green"? (2)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 3 months ago | (#47667251)

This seems to affirm the giant elephant in the "save the Earth" room

The article is devoid of details and the links it provides are even worse. Musk has quite a few heavy weight corporations who are unhappy about his plans and his popularity. The whole thing smells of propaganda to me, why would california offer concessions when the plans for the factory are already well developed in a different state, if they wanted to "bribe" Musk the time to do it is before Musk spent serious money planing to build elsewhere. It's clear Musk had no intention to build in california, it's clear that the californian economy has been very kind to Musk in the past, and it's also clear that the decision had nothing to do with environmental law.

Conclusion: The article is a old fashioned press "beat up" intent on painting Musk as a hypocrite, and judging by the comments it appears to be working quite well. It's particularly attractive to those who believe the lie that environmental regulations are destroying california's economy (still the fifth largest of any nation).

corruption (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47666863)

The states shouldn't be allowed to engage in bribery like this. For any company. What? It's not illegal if the payoff is done in the open? A payoff is a payoff whether it's done at a local club in the dark, or at city hall in the light of day. This... is corruption. Writ large.

Factory environment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47666873)

Is California too hot for battery production or is there some other reason why Tesla aren't interested in placing a factory there. Sure the environmental laws plays a role, but there could be practical problems too like production facilities needing expensive air conditioning for not overheating or logistic problems. There could be non-environmental legal reasons too. Just assuming it is due to environmental laws without any proof will make it just a theory. As likely as it is, it will not be anything but a theory until there is an actual proof.

Making special laws just for a single company is suspect. Avoiding complains and lawsuits is highly suspect. In a system without lawsuits, the legal system is out of power and the politicians can allow anything. It might be illegal, but you can't sue, which sort of makes it legal. I would go as far as to say it is borderline corruption, which is defined as simple as "when the rules doesn't apply equally to everybody".

Having said that, it would actually be a good idea to look at environmental laws and economic consequences. In fact as weird as it may sound, the environment might even benefit from less restrictive laws. California has quite a number of outdated coal fired powerplants. Getting money to upgrade those with filters and/or increase efficiency would make a major environmental change. If the laws are like here, they will not upgrade because if you do anything, you need approval like it's new. Make that mean reducing emissions by 20% can be illegal if demands from newly constructed ones are reduced by 40%. The end result is that nothing happens because then it will not need new approvals. Often making laws to do good for the environment is way more complex than most people think.

Proof the left knows their rules do not work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47666921)

They put in place all their ideological rules (always insisting that the new rules are practical and that any critic is evil and dishonest and owned by "big oil" or the Koch Brothers ) and then when reality sets-in they put in place "waivers" for the few politically-favored and they demand that nobody point this out. When they put these laws in place in California they DEMANDED that they were good rules that would not cause job losses. As the employers took millions of manufacturing jobs out of the state, these same know-nothings jammed their fingers into their ears and yelled "naa naa naa naa" pretending that their actions were having no effect on the state. They ignored all the damage being done to the middle class and to the upward-mobility chances of the poorer citizens whose path to the middle was traditionally via manufacturing jobs. They were SAVING THE PLANET, and all their rich friends in the bay area insistent that they were not being harmed. The left (which has a 2-to-1 death-grip on the legislature) has RUINED California - it's now a state of a super-rich class (in gated colonies), a dwindling middle-class, and a rapidly-growing lower-class composed largely of government-aid-dependent poor immigrants and their kids. Note to the left: If your plans require waivers, then your plans are BAD and the waiver is the proof.

Same with Obamacare. The people who wrote it and passed it into law DEMANDED that it would work and everybody would love it - and they denounced all the critics as corrupt, dishonest, or racist --- but then when all the left-wing groups like the unions whined about its negative effects THEY were granted "waivers"...

Oh, and another note for you guys on the left re demonization of your opponents: The current bogeyman of the left-wing fundraisers and politicians is "The Koch Brothers" (who are libertarians, NOT conservative Republicans) BUT you may have forgotten the previous bogeyman the DNC rode around on for well over a decade: Richard Mellon Scaife. If you go back and look at all the fundraisers and speeches from the nineties, you see people like the Clintons using the exact same attacks on the "evil" Mr Scaife that they curently use on the Kochs - but you might have missed the recent funeral of Mr Scaife (where Bill Clinton eulogized him as a good guy and a friend). A Huge portion of the scapegoating that people in Washington (and particularly in their activist groups) use against their critics while pushing really bad policies is completely dishonest and phoney.

Truly good laws and policies require NO waivers

Too late! (1)

jtara (133429) | about 3 months ago | (#47666943)

If rumors are to be believed, the plant is already under construction.

I find it hard to believe that California state officials are not aware of this. Therefore, they must have some other agenda beyond Tesla. Tesla is a red herring.

Everyone follow the rules, except . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47667117)

Everyone is required to follow a labrynth of regulations, laws, guidelines, and permits. That is unless you have the favor of the executive leadership of a state or federal government. It is happening in increasing frequency because actually following the law and regulations is so difficult as to be effectively impossible.

Enter selective enforcement.

JJ

Hypocrisy at its finest (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47667149)

Nothing new here. Look up the Oakland Bay Bridge project. This is just the latest report on it.

http://www.sacbee.com/static/sinclair/sinclair.jquery/baybridge/

The state exported the construction to China to avoid their own regulations. Volumes and volumes of regulations for the masses to follow. When the politicians who passed the regulations want to ignore or circumvent them, they do so. Do as I say, not as I do. Amazingly, our citizens reelect these people.

No, all the local government are OOB (2)

istartedi (132515) | about 3 months ago | (#47667173)

We need to do something to prohibit governments from bargaining away the laws. We've devolved into a system where the law is for sale to the highest bidder. The USA's reputation for being less corrupt than other nations is becoming more and more of a joke every day because of stuff like this. Either justice is blind, or it's lame. No "different rules for different folks". Either your state has a code applied equally to all comers, or it's arguable that it has no code at all.

California isn't OOB. It's just cheating because all the other kids in class are cheating. Johnny looked at Joe's paper. Didn't get caught. What am I knocking myself out for? Jane knows math. I'll look at here paper. It works great until nobody in class knows math any more.

Reagan: the environmental governor? (3, Informative)

romanval (556418) | about 3 months ago | (#47667189)

It's strange how California's environmental protection law was put in place by the beloved icon of Republican party... the same party who now say it's the reason for companies to stay away from California.

"California's landmark environmental statute, widely known by its acronym CEQA, was signed into law by former Gov. Ronald Reagan. It requires state and local government agencies to review development projects to identify potential threats to the environment and recommend ways to reduce or eliminate any potential damage."
http://www.latimes.com/busines... [latimes.com]

Leftist Hypocrisy (1, Troll)

BobandMax (95054) | about 3 months ago | (#47667327)

They are adamant about the letter of the law if you are a conventional business, just trying to address market needs and make a profit. But, if you are supporting their wet dream crap (windmills, solar farms, trains to nowhere, etc.), they throw all the rules out the window. To hell with the environment, raptors, Desert Tortoises or anyone and anything that gets in their way. If the laws and regulations are necessary and good, they they are necessary good for everyone. If they are bad, then they are bad for everyone. Should leftists ever gain full control of government, does anyone still believe that corruption of this ilk will not be the norm?

keep the psychopaths in line (3, Insightful)

dltaylor (7510) | about 3 months ago | (#47667381)

Businesses have repeated shown no concern for their workers or the surrounding populace when it comes to safety or pollution, and no remorse for the consequences of their actions. Rivers in the Appalachians, lead poisoning in Industry, plant explosions in Texas, worker deaths and oil spills from a rig explosion in the Gulf, the Ohio River literally on fire are all examples of this psychopathic behavior.

If a business cannot provide a safe workplace, and clean up its own waste, it should not be in business, because neither of those is all that hard.

Perfectly reasonable. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47667393)

If the products the factory produces are more beneficial for the environment than the harm of the factory's pollutants, go for it. It would probably still be worthwhile if they ran the damn thing on unfiltered coal, frankly.

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