5/21/24 - Judge Says Gotion Can Proceed With Electric Battery Plant

file photo: Gotion prepares to build EV battery plant near Big Rapids

Gotion has plans to build an electric vehicle battery plant near Big Rapids, but many in the area are still against the idea.

GREEN TOWNSHIP (AP) — A judge has ordered a Michigan community to stop blocking efforts to bring a major electric vehicle battery business to a rural region.

Gotion, a China-based manufacturer, was granted a preliminary injunction after arguing that Mecosta County’s Green Township has refused to stick to an agreement made by elected officials who were subsequently removed from office.

Despite that recall last November, a deal still is a deal, Gotion said.

Gotion “has already invested over $24 million into the project by way of real estate acquisition costs and other related fees,” U.S. District Judge Jane Beckering said.

She ordered the township to comply with a previously approved development agreement while the case remains in court.

The company plans to make components for electric vehicle batteries. The project, valued at more than $2 billion, could bring thousands of jobs.

It has the support of state officials, including Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Millions of dollars in financial incentives have been approved.

But Green Township apparently isn’t excited. The supervisor, clerk, treasurer and two trustees — all Republicans — were voted out of office last fall and replaced by anti-Gotion candidates. Some critics, citing ties to China, said the factory could be a threat to U.S. national security.

The new township board, in a 4-3 vote, rescinded an agreement that would extend water to the factory site from the city of Big Rapids and also voted, 5-2, to drop support for the project.

“This case is simply about a township exercising its constitutional and legislative authority to control its future,” township attorney T. Seth Koches said in a court filing.

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