1 Environs 1 (1977)

handle is hein.journals/environs1 and id is 1 raw text is: On January 19,1977, the Dow Chemical Company indefinitely delayed
its plans to build a $500 million petrochemical complex in Solano County.
In explaining the pullout from the Sacramento River Delta, Dow's West
Coast General Manager Ray Brubaker said, The permitting process for
new facilities has proved to be so involved and expensive that for the
time being, at least, it is impractical to continue with this project.
In order to obtain complete governmental approval of the proposed
facility, Dow had to secure sixty-five permits from twelve local, state; and
federal agencies. After 23 months and a four-million dollar expenditure
for engineering and environmental studies as well as applications, Dow
had obtained conditional approval for only four permits.
Much of the post-Dow debate has focused on ways of simplifying the
bureaucratic labyrinth, which is seen by some as inhibiting industrial
development in California. The fear, obviously, is that business will be
reluctant to invest in the state, posing ominous consequences for the
state's economy and, in particular, its already-high unemployment rate.
Legislators Act
The legislative response to preserving a pro-business image for the
state has ranged from prolosals to consolidate and simplify the permit
process to Assemblyman Dan Boatwright's resolution (ACR 9) calling for
all state agencies reviewing Dow's applications to approve them assoon as
The principal arguments in favor of the complex are economic.
According to its Environmental Impact Report (EIR), Dow would
permanently employ approximately 1000 workers at an annual payroll of
some $15 million. Moreover, the five-to-eight-year building period
needed to complete the thirteen plants would temporarily employ
another 1000 construction workers. Solano County stood to net some
$1.8 million each year in property taxes, which would add one-seventh to
the county's current property tax revenue.
Opponents of the facility feel that the employment issue is being over-
emphasized. A half-billion-dollar investment in one thousand jobs, they
point out, comes to a highly capital-intensive average of $500,000 per job.
Also, according to the state's Employment Development Department
(EDD) figures released on March 8, the unemployment rate in California
has dropped to 7.8%, just .3% above the national average and more than a
2% drop since last year. EDD's new jobs were created inCalifornia in 1976
- a rate 30% higher than the average nationwide.
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