Elon Musk is a man of vision. As CEO and CTO of SpaceX, founder of SolarCity and CEO and chief product architect of Tesla Motors, he has launched technology, exploration and transportation into the stratosphere. His latest plans for a massive TESLA factory that would revamp the global supply chain for lithium-ion batteries and then sharply reduce their cost, is equally ambitious, but he still does not have an official location for this Gigafactory.
California was not even on the radar, as rumor had it the Reno, Nevada area was the frontrunner to land this factory that promises to employ up to 6,500 people – in fact, excavation of a proposed site has already been completed. Arizona, New Mexico and Texas were also frontrunners in the event negotiations.
But suddenly California is making the charge to woo Tesla Motors. According to the Los Angeles Times, California lawmakers would exempt Tesla, Panasonic and other potential partners from some of the state’s environmental regulations in order to move the Gigafactory forward. Democrats and Republicans are working with Gov. Jerry Brown’s office to pass legislation that would reduce the factory’s cost by as much as 10 percent.
Key to the Gigafactory establishing roots in California would be a rollback of some of the regulations that comprise the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Revered by environmentalists as much as it is reviled by business groups, CEQA, signed into law by Gov. Ronald Reagan more than 40 years ago, has produced a massive body of environmental regulations that would overwhelm even the most seasoned environmental or business lawyer.
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