Americans fight Chinese EV battery factory in major state

By Andrew Powell

Michigan residents in Green Charter Township just outside of Big Rapids in Mecosta County are pushing back against a Chinese Communist Party-affiliated EV battery manufacturer – Gotion Inc. – after the company was approved to purchase land and install a new battery component manufacturing plant.

Gotion proposed a deal that would bring close to $2.4 billion into the Michigan economy and provide 2,350 new jobs, according to a news release from Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Office in October 2022.

“Gotion’s $2.36 billion investment creating 2,350 good-paying jobs in Big Rapids is the biggest ever economic development project in Northern Michigan and will shore up our status as the global hub of mobility and electrification,” Whitmer said in her statement.

While Whitmer was enthused over the proposal, the Daily Caller reported in August of 2023 that Gotion’s parent company – Gotion High-Tech Power Energy Co. – employs 923 members of the CCP, including one member who is the CEO.

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Because of the close ties between the company and the CCP, the deal started an uproar within the local community, including a legal fight between Gotion and Big Rapids resident Stephan Fenstermacher, who was sued for violating the terms of an occupancy agreement when Gotion purchased his property.

Michigan News Source reported in March 2024 that Gotion was seeking to terminate Fenstermacher’s tenancy and regain possession of the property. According to the court documents, Fenstermacher failed to maintain the property, and allegedly made unauthorized alterations without permission.

Furthermore, Gotion alleged that Fenstermacher allowed guests onto the property without consent from the landlord and fed deer – which is prohibited by law.

Green Charter Township also is currently locked in a legal battle with Gotion. On the town’s website, a GoFundMe has been set up to help with litigation costs.

“Green Charter Township is a small, rural Northern Michigan Township currently being sued by Gotion, Inc. regarding Gotion’s installation of a large-scale EV battery plant. As a rural township, we are seeking help to defray what we anticipate to be significant legal costs defending ourselves in litigation against Gotion, Inc.,” the GoFundMe page says.

Residents are concerned about the natural resources that are available in the area, and fear those resources will fall into the hands of China.

Also of great concern is the potential risk to national security. Tudor Dixon, the former Republican nominee for Michigan governor, is among those sounding the alarm, about China spying on America from the facility.

“I stand with the residents fighting back against having a 700-acre Chinese battery plant in their backyard that could easily double as a base for spying on Americans,” she tweeted.

The town ousted five of its seven elected officials, which included the town’s supervisor, clerk, two trustees, and treasurer, in November after they voted for the project 7-0.

Mecosta Environmental and Security Alliance also has threatened to sue over environmental impacts. The non-profit organization says it is dedicated to protecting Mecosta County and neighboring communities “from both the environmental and national security threats of the proposed Gotion gigafactory in Green Charter Township, Michigan.”

The nonprofit states it exists to help provide legal funds to stop the construction of the facility, and opposes having any businesses that threaten to harm the environment, or have ties to governments that threaten to harm America.

In a not-so-shocking move, however, Gotion announced in mid-June that the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Committee on Foreign Investment – which assesses the risk to national security – found the purchase of land in Mecosta County by Gotion was not covered under the Defense Production Act of 1950, according to a report from Michigan Live.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, said in a post on X that both Gotion Inc. and Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. – another Chinese EV battery manufacturer – use slave labor and should be prohibited from operating in the U.S.

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