Residents in rural western Michigan are divided over the proposed construction of a new lithium-ion battery factory in their community due to the Chinese firm Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. (CATL), the world’s largest producer of EV batteries, having ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), according to an in-depth report from The Epoch Times.
Gotion Inc., a California-based subsidiary of the Chinese company Gotion High-tech, intends to construct a $2.4 billion factory in Big Rapids, to manufacture components for lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles.
The factory is expected to employ up to 2,350 workers over the course of a few years, and the prospective employees will be drawn from a 60-mile radius.
The starting pay is expected to be $45,000 a year.
However, former Air Force Staff Sergeant Ormand Hook, a resident three miles from the site, is choosing “national security and safety” over “new jobs and money in our pockets” due to the battery company’s ties to the CCP.
“It’s not worth the risk. Communist China is our biggest enemy. We have to go with national security first. In a dangerous world, take the boldest course for your survival,” he added.
Some residents are also concerned about the environmental impact of a plant that uses lithium, cobalt, and possibly other heavy metals in the manufacturing process.
Others are worried about the loss of hundreds of acres of agricultural land to build the factory.
China expert Brian Kennedy of the ‘Committee on the Present Danger: China’ warned that people should be wary of multibillion-dollar investments that “sound great on the surface” but are drawing the United States into “long-term dependence on China, our mortal enemy.”
Kennedy also pointed out that the CCP strategy is to lure America into using electric cars, which he calls “a demonstrably unrealistic form of transportation.”
In addition, opponents of the project are circulating Gotion High-tech’s articles of association to illustrate their concerns about how the CCP permeates Chinese companies, Epoch Times notes.
The articles mention the company’s “unified social credit code,” an account assigned by the Chinese government as a way of rating a business’s adherence to the government’s laws and CCP policies.
The articles also set up within the company a “Party organization” to carry out “Party activities in accordance with the Constitution of the Communist Party of China.”
The Big Rapids Charter Township Board voted unanimously to submit the project to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States for review to determine if the foreign ties of Gotion pose a threat to national security.
Opponents of the plant expect demonstrations to arise in the coming days to dissuade local officials from moving forward with the project.