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GM Lordstown Battery Plant Plan Includes Wetlands Mitigation

There’s a lot up in the air for the new joint venture to build a $2.3 billion electric battery production plant in Lordstown. But companies at least have nailed down a location.

General Motors plans to hold public hearings with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency in March on their proposed battery plant with LG Chem in Lordstown, breaking ground by the spring if permits are secured.

Spokesman Dan Flores says the land is near the former GM Cruze plant, now owned by Lordstown Motor Company (LMC), on Hallock Young Road and Tod Avenue.

"Because the prospective site does have some wetlands on it, we also submitted as part of the permit, a mitigation plan to essentially create wetlands somewhere else," Flores said.

Flores added the plan requires GM to create two acres of wetlands northeast of the site for every one acre they impact.

"About 136 acres of new wetlands, essentially a wetlands restoration site [will be] up near the Mosquito Creek Wildlife area," Flores said.

It’s too early to say whether the battery plant will be unionized and did not say whether former GM employees still in the area will receive priority in hiring, Flores said.

"That will ultimately be up to the hourly workforce that works there," Flores said. "That'll be their call but I think that certainly wouldn't surprise us."

Flores did not specify a potential hourly wage, but said the plant must be competitive with wages paid by Tesla and other companies with electric battery facilities. 

The United Auto Workers have not yet responded to ideastream’s request for comment.

The joint venture between GM and LG Chem is also awaiting final regulatory approval, but Flores said it is expected to be secured in the coming months. GM is currently acting on behalf of the still-pending joint venture to secure the site. 

GM spokesman Jim Cain clarified that a reported $40 million loan to the startup was actually a bridge transaction, with the newly formed company taking possession of the former GM complex without an exchange of cash.

LMC will pay for the plant and certain operating expenses at a later date, according to Cain, who also said contractual language regarding leasing of land, property or a buyback of the facility are standard protective covenants and previously reported amounts are a ceiling on possible expenses above the selling price for the plant and its assets.

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