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Gotion sues Green Charter Township over water line dispute

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(The Center Square) – A company taking $715 million of taxpayer subsidies is suing the local government for revoking vital water infrastructure for its electric vehicle plant.

In October 2023, the Green Charter Township board approved the water line for Gotion, which bought 270 actors of land in Mecosta County in August 2023.

In November, voters ousted the entire board, claiming it signed non-disclosure agreements to give Gotion taxpayer dollars to build the $2.4 billion electric vehicle plant without telling the local community.

Gotion seeks a court order for the government to provide the water line and attorney fees.

“To prevent the township’s sudden recalcitrance from unraveling an endeavor already years and millions of dollars in the making, this court should order the township to comply with its obligations under the parties’ agreement,” the lawsuit filed March 15 said.

Gotion needs the new water lines to withdraw up to 715,000 gallons of Michigan groundwater daily.

Lori Brock, who owns a 140-acre horse farm near the plant, has held protests against the plant.

Some welcomed the estimated 2,350 jobs created over 10 years in a county fighting population and job loss, while others questioned the $715 million taxpayer funding to Gotion Inc., a North American company in California – a subsidiary of Gotion High-Tech in Shanghai.

Green Charter Township Supervisor Jason Kruse told The Center Square that the Township was served on Friday.

“We are saddened and disappointed by their decision to proceed in this direction,” Kruse told The Center Square in an email.

“As Township Supervisor, my number one concern is protecting the interests of the people of Green Charter Township, and we will vigorously defend our township’s position in this matter. We might be a small community, but we refuse to be bullied.”

The expected hourly compensation is about $24.50 compared to the area’s average hourly wage of $16.50.

The subsidies include a $125 million grant for a local job creation requirement, a 30-year Renaissance Zone to Mecosta County valued at $540 million, and a $50 million Strategic Site Readiness Program performance-based grant.

When completed, the plant is expected to produce up to 400,000 tons of cathode material yearly – essential components of lithium-ion batteries.

The plant was key in Michigan’s climate goal of registering 2 million EVs by 2030. Michigan has fallen 1.9 million EVs short of that goal because of range anxiety, a sparse charging network, and a higher upfront cost.

Gotion plans to build similar plants in Illinois by the end of 2024 and operate a battery pack factory out of California to create a national EV supply chain.

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