Rivian Plant Approval Shifts To Georgia!
- Counties requested help due to a shortage of resources.
- Construction work on a $5 billion project is expected to begin in the summer.
After local opposition threatened to postpone the $5 billion project, state officials will handle approvals for the Rivian‘s planned electric vehicle facility in Georgia.
The firm, which disclosed the location in December, has said that construction will begin in the summer, although no exact date has been offered. The factory, which will be spread over Morgan and Walton counties, will employ more than 7,500 people and have the potential to produce 400,000 electric vehicles each year. Production will begin in 2024.
While Governor Brian Porter Kemp has pushed for the project to provide Georgia a foothold in automobile electrification, several neighbors near the site in Rutledge, Georgia, approximately 45 minutes east of Atlanta, have spoken out against it.
Those opposed to the project, who are concerned about traffic, environmental harm, and continuous urban growth, have protested at local meetings, started a Facebook group with over 2,700 members, and engaged a law firm to fight it.
Critics said that they were kept in the dark about the initiative until it was too late.
On Feb. 18, county officials requested that state Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson manage compliance and public participation, claiming that the process “needs a greater resource level than we can bring to bear locally.” Wilson notified county officials in a letter Monday that the state is buying the site for the plant from the counties so that the zoning and compliance processes may be consolidated into a single forum.
In an interview Tuesday, he added, “We’re going to have to work as quickly as we can to make sure we’re addressing all of the community’s concerns.” “At the same time, we have to satisfy the company’s long-term timeline.”
Other significant projects in Georgia have used a similar strategy, including a Kia plant in West Point and the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Rivian has announced that it will conduct events in the spring to address residents’ concerns.
“It’s critical for us to succeed in Georgia that we spend time listening to local issues, resolving them as best we can, and working hard to be the sort of neighbor the community wants to see,” the Irvine, California-based firm stated in an email.
Rivian intends to build and operate a battery-cell manufacturing facility on the property in the future but hasn’t specified a date for its construction or operation.