by Scott McClallen
Michigan lawmakers are calling on the state’s environmental agency to release an impact report for the planned Gotion electric vehicle battery factory.
Eight Republican lawmakers signed a letter sent to Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy Acting Director Aaron Keatley, saying the environmental impact of the factory was unclear.
“Several requests for an environmental impact study have been made with no real response from state regulators,” the letter says. “ Furthermore, Gotion Inc. representatives have admitted in open hearings that the facility will be withdrawing approximately 715,000 gallons of Michigan groundwater per day – far exceeding the Nestle Company’s withdrawal rate for their bottled water operation.”
Reps. Aric Nesbitt of Porter Township, Matt Hall of Comstock Township, Roger Hauck of Mt. Pleasant, Tom Kunse of Clare, Dan Lauwers of Brockway Township, Timmy Beson of Bangor Twp, Lana Theis of Brighton, and Angela Rigas of Caledonia signed the letter, noting that in 2018, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said that Nestle wasn’t fairly compensating the public for the company’s water usage.
“We can only assume those previous concerns of the governor are heightened when the amount of water being withdrawn is greater, and hardworking taxpayers have already committed $715 million to this project,” the letter says.
The Gotion factory is a flashpoint to Michigan residents. Many people oppose the possible 30-year tax break given to Gotion while local small businesses pay taxes. A local horse farm owner also opposes the plant because of environmental concerns.
“With all of these concerns continuing to grow, especially among the local residents who will be most impacted by the effects and consequences of this project, it is all the more necessary for your department to publicly provide all of the documents detailing the environmental impacts of this project,” the letter said. “These documents should detail the daily, massive water withdrawals that will occur from local watersheds, the geotechnical evaluation, and any other reviews or assessments that have been conducted by the local, state, or federal governments.”
The Center Square has filed records requests seeking the environmental impact report with EGLE, but the agency didn’t provide the desired documents.
The Center Square has also filed for these documents from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
Gotion claimed the plant will create up to 2,350 jobs over 10 years.
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Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.
Photo “Gotion” by Gotion.