Billionaire Wants His Own Town, Go Figure

Musk has big plans for Bastrop and they involve dumping 50 million gallons of wastewater into the Colorado every year (Photo by Creative Commons / Maggie Q. Thompson)

Elon Musk has been espousing his vision to create a “utopia” in Texas for a while now. In Tesla’s October 2022 stockholders meeting (yuck) Musk said he wanted to create an “ecological paradise” in Travis County.

His vision seems to have slipped a little farther southeast and abandoned the “ecological” and “paradise” parts.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Musk is planning to build his own town on some of the thousands of pasture and farmland acres he recently purchased in Bastrop County. In meetings with landowners, Musk and his employees describe his vision as a utopia along the Colorado River where Musk’s employees can live and work.

Of course a “utopia” or “paradise” centered on the Colorado probably doesn’t bring to mind images of hundreds of thousands of gallons of wastewater being poured into said river, but that is evidently what Musk and his people envision. Musk-owned tunneling company the Boring Co. has applied to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) for permission to discharge up to 140,000 gallons of industrial treated wastewater into the Colorado every day.

That’s how Bastrop local Chap Ambrose, whose house overlooks Musk’s property, found out about this utopian vision – a letter from TCEQ informing him of his neighbor’s wastewater request and of his own ability to publicly comment on the request. Led by Ambrose, a grassroots coalition of Musk’s neighbors called Keep Bastrop Boring hosted a meeting March 8 at the Bastrop Public Library to share their research, and their plans to show up at the TCEQ’s public meeting to discuss the Boring permit 7pm, March 21 at the Hampton Inn in Bastrop. (Anyone can comment.)

This is just the latest in not-helpful ideas Musk has presented in Central Texas. In April last year, we reported that ten Austin city employees flew out to Las Vegas to meet with representatives of the Boring Co. in relation to potential tunnels needed for Project Connect, although Boring Co. has no experience with public transit systems. That communication seemed to fizzle out, as have the many projects Boring Co. has attempted with cities nationwide.

So what’s the deal with Musk city? Boring Co. employees leaked to the WSJ that Boring Co. president, Steve Davis, had discussed the need to hold an election for mayor during a large meeting of Boring employees last year. WSJ’s sources also described a visual mock-up of a Musk town, and reported that Musk, his ex Grimes, Kanye West and West’s architectural designer all discussed the Musk town last year.

Under Texas law, Musk will need at least 201 residents before a town can apply to incorporate, and then it needs approval from a county judge. A Bastrop County spokesperson told the WSJ that they haven’t received an application from Musk or any of his businesses, although documents filed in the Bastrop County Commissioners Court in January include plans for 110 homes near a Boring Co. construction site.

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