Tesla: We have to respect the integrity of CEQA

A story by the Los Angeles Times floats the idea that Tesla is seeking exemptions from the California’s landmark environmental legislation, known as CEQA. Reporter Marc Lifsher says that California would exempt Tesla from some of its toughest environmental regulations as part of an incentive package being discussed regarding the gigafactory.

Lifsher quotes state Senator Ted Gaines:

“It would help them speed the process,” Sen. Ted Gaines said after a Friday meeting with Tesla officials at the company’s Palo Alto headquarters and assembly line in Fremont, east of San Francisco.

There are a few problems with this story. For one, Gaines did not tour the Tesla factory in Fremont: check with his staff, or the other business leaders who actually went on the tour. And while he showed up at Tesla’s Palo Alto headquarters with a “golden shovel,” he did not meet with Tesla officials. (Details, details).

Tesla spokesman Simon Sproule said Thursday that Tesla is not seeking exemptions.

“It would be completely counter to the mission of the company to go against environmental legislation,” said Sproule in an interview. “We have to respect the integrity of CEQA. The issue is timing. We’re not asking for exemptions, but is there a way to expedite the review process?”

There is: in 2011, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill  to expedite legal challenges to Farmers Field, Anschutz Entertainment Group’s $1.2 billion proposed football stadium in downtown Los Angeles.

Rendering of Tesla’s proposed gigafactory via Tesla Motors.

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Dana Hull Dana Hull (238 Posts)

Dana Hull covers clean technology and energy policy for the San Jose Mercury News. She often writes about electric vehicles, the smart grid, the solar industry and California energy policy, from RPS goals to Gov. Jerry Brown's big dreams for distributed generation.