August 10, 2022
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Georgia is all set to welcome a huge electric vehicle factory, which is expected to be five times the size of the Pentagon. Estimated to be the largest economic development project in the state’s history, it would be capable enough to produce around 400,000 emissions-free trucks annually.

The American electric automaker company, Rivian, is behind this project that will see an investment of $5 billion. Many are optimistic that the establishment of the factory will help accelerate the transition process from fossil fuels to clean energy while also boosting the state’s economy with new jobs.

This project results from the cooperation between Rivian and the governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, who is a Republican. At present gas-powered pickup trucks are most common on the state’s roadways, and according to Atlanta Truck Accident Attorneys, these are responsible for numerous traffic crashes.

But, Not All Are In Favor Of The Developments

But things aren’t going smoothly for the project, as apart from being opposed by a section of the population, it has also gotten embroiled in partisan politics. In the last few months, opponents have turned towards online mobilization, rallies, conspiracy theories, and even threats to officials in a bid to shut down the project.

Apart from the political angle, there are several other concerns people are worried about. These include a drastic change in the area’s character, contamination of groundwater, increase in traffic and pollution, as well as the huge incentives being offered to Rivian.

At present, this issue has also entered the upcoming race for the governor’s election scheduled for this year. Governor Kemp, who is geared up for re-election, has been on the receiving end of the indignation of the opponents, who are allying with Former Senator David Perdue in the upcoming elections.

Perdue held a political rally near the factory’s proposed location in Rutledge earlier this month, where he deemed the project to be unsuitable for the community. In addition, he also claimed that Governor Kemp had special interests in pushing for the project.

However, representatives from both Rivian and the governor’s offices have insisted that they were aware of the community’s concerns and had chosen the factory site and incentive package after proper deliberation.

The vice president of public policy for Rivian, James Chen, was of the opinion that the public opinion on the factory’s environmental impact was mistaken. Instead, he suggested that they should be celebrating the arrival of the new green jobs. However, these statements have failed to convince a part of the population who are fearful of the negative environmental impact of this project.

The Main Concerns Of The Residents

The factory site is located in an underdeveloped area of the state and is of around 2,000 acres. A 74-year old woman residing near the factory site thinks that it would be a big blow to the area’s ecosystem and has therefore chosen to support Purdue. She is worried about the factory wastes contaminating the aquifer, especially since most houses in the area use well water.

Another resident is opposed to the idea of the factory as it will alter the small-town feel of the area, something that they aren’t ready to accept. Yet others are afraid of the possibility of the company backing out of the project and leaving the area with an abandoned industrial site due to the fluctuations in its stocks.

But Are These Mere Speculations?

The executive director of the Development Authority of Walton County, Shane Short, still supports this project even after facing online threats. His experience has prompted several people who support the project to keep a low profile to avoid threats and personal attacks. However, a recent poll conducted by the Georgia Chamber indicated that two-thirds of the area’s residents who know about the project support it.
According to Short, the factory is unlikely to change the small-town feel of the area. Instead, it will bring in jobs that would benefit the local economy. He further said that Rivian plans to lower its environmental impact by using recycled water instead of well water for the factory. Moreover, they are also open to taking measures to reduce light pollution and blending the factory buildings into the area’s landscape.

Despite the opposition, there is a high chance of the proposal being approved soon. And if all goes to plan, Rivian will start its production process in the world’s largest electric vehicle factory in Georgia by 2024.

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