Tesla Sues Local California Authorities over Lockdown, Threatens to Leave State

AP Photo/Francois Mori
AP Photo/Francois Mori

Elon Musk’s Tesla has sued local authorities in California over lockdown orders as the company attempts to reopen its Fremont factory, Musk has also threatened to pull the company out of California completely.

Reuters reports that electric vehicle maker Tesla sued local authorities in California on Saturday as the firm attempts to re-open its manufacturing plant in Fremont. CEO Elon Musk also threatened to remove Tesla’s headquarters and future programs from California, moving them to Texas or Nevada.

Musk has been pushing to reopen the Fremont, California, factory for some time, even after Alameda County’s health department stated that the firm must not reopen due to local lockdown measures to curb the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus in the area.

In a post to the company blog on Saturday, Tesla stated that the county’s position had left it no choice but to take legal action to ensure that Tesla and its employees could return to work. The firm stated that it had worked out a return-to-work plan including online video training for personnel, work zone partition areas, temperature screening, protective equipment requirements, and rigorous cleaning protocols.

The firm alleged that it had contacted health authorities in Alameda County but had not received a response. Alameda County’s Public Health Department stated on Saturday that it had been “communicating directly and working closely with the Tesla team,” but did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.

Tesla has since filed a lawsuit against the county in San Francisco federal court calling the continued restrictions a “power-grab” by the county since California’s governor had said on Thursday that manufacturers in the stated could begin to reopen. However, Alameda County is scheduled to remain shut until the end of May with only essential businesses allowed to reopen, Tesla is not considered an essential business by the county.

Musk stated in a tweet: “If we even retain Fremont manufacturing activity at all, it will be dependen (sp) on how Tesla is treated in the future.” Alameda County stated on Saturday that it had been working with Tesla to develop a safety plan that “allows for reopening while protecting the health and well-being of the thousands of employees” that work at the Fremon facility and hoped to come to an agreement on a safety plan soon.

In response to Musk’s tweet, Rep. Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) tweeted late in the evening a very simple message: “F*ck Elon Musk.”

The Sacramento Bee published an op-ed from its editorial board titled “Tesla’s Elon Musk says he’ll leave California due to coronavirus shutdown. Who cares?” In the article, the board sarcastically stated: “Poor Elon Musk. COVID-19 has killed nearly 2,700 Californians so far, but he’s the one who’s truly suffering during the coronavirus pandemic.”

The article went on to question if Musk was even serious about moving the factory, stating:

Unfortunately for Musk, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s statewide stay-at-home order is extremely popular with the vast majority of Californians. And for good reason: Our collective efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 have saved tens of thousands of lives.

That’s why tens of millions of Californians are bravely doing their part and making great sacrifices to protect the lives of their fellow citizens. Unlike Musk, most of us aren’t billionaires who will be fine no matter what.

It’s unclear whether Musk will make good on his threat to relocate. He doesn’t always follow through on the things he says during his Twitter outbursts.

Dan Ives, a Wedbush analyst, estimated on Saturday that it would take Tesla 12 to 18 months to relocate its production facility. The threat to relocate the firm comes as Tesla attempted to ramp up production of its Model Y sport utility vehicle which it expects to generate record demand and profit margins.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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