A group of Georgia residents are taking on the system.
Rivian may be facing some tough times at the moment but it's still looking ahead towards a bright future. The EV carmaker's Normal, Illinois, factory won't be able to build enough examples of the R1T Truck, R1S SUV, and Amazon delivery vans, so a new factory is needed. Last month, Rivian announced plans to build that new $5 billion factory in the state of Georgia, promising around 7,500 jobs and, of course, domestic production of in-demand vehicles. Sounds good, right? Apparently ot for everyone.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has an interesting report about local residents with justifiable concerns and questions about what Rivian and state officials have planned for the rural area located about 45 miles outside of Atlanta.
The state government and Rivian secretly negotiated the future factory's details, such as zoning, for months and longtime residents were left completely in the dark. They want answers as to how the sprawling new facility will affect their lives.
"I think the size of this Rivian plant really scares a lot of people," said Clint Powell, an electrical contractor who has lived in the area for 17 years. The factory is set to be located on a 2,000-acre site and is expected to break ground in the coming months.
This all sounds good on paper but vital questions still remained unanswered despite Rivian's promise to provide them. For example, residents want to know how much extra traffic can be expected. How close will the plant get to private property lines? How bright will the facility's lights be?
And, perhaps most importantly, how will the local water supply be protected from contamination? Approximately 55 percent of the proposed site is zoned for agricultural and residential use, but the local development authority has already submitted rezoning applications. Two county commissioners will hold separate votes on this in March.
Area residents are using what little time they have to get organized, get the answers they want, and, if necessary, fight against the factory and the system behind it. It's not that residents are opposed to the factory coming to Georgia, they just don't want the 12-building facility in their small town. There's no question this is going to be an uphill battle for them.