Nevada Dreaming, on Such a California Day

By April 27, 2009Economy, Energy

From Jane Wells, CNBC, her “Funny Business” feature.

It’s too late to keep Bob Ostendorf in California.

Ostendorf is President and CEO of Neenah Enterprises. For the last 60 years, Gregg Industries, a Neenah subsidiary, has run a foundry in the Los Angeles suburb of El Monte, churning out engine housings and turbine casings for companies like Honeywell and Caterpillar. Wednesday, the place closed down putting more than 200 people out of work. Why? Local air quality regulators say the foundry violates standards on odor, and after spending $3 million to fix it to no avail, Neenah has decided it’s cheaper to move than to keep paying. “I think there are so many special interests in California, there is no common interest,” Ostendorf says. He shook hands with employees on the last day of work, including one who wore a t-shirt saying “Poverty Pollutes”. Gregg Industries will probably relocate to one of Neenah’s other facilities in Wisconsin or Pennsylvania. “It’s just a lot easier to do business on the electrical costs, lot easier to do business on the environmental costs, lot easier to do business on the quality of work-life costs (OSHA),” outside of California he says. “I love the state, I love the people…but you sure as heck can’t do business here.”

Yet with cap and trade, tax increases, union-driven policies to create a more rigid labor market, and hostility to energy supplies, Washington seems set on following Sacramento into the economic tar pits.

(Hat tip: Shawn Macomber)

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