On April 20, the Democrat-controlled MI Senate Appropriations Committee approved a plan to take $175 million from MI taxpayers who are already struggling to get by in a crushing economy and give it to Gotion, a Chinese electric battery manufacturer, as an incentive for them to build a new plant in Big Rapids, MI.
On April 3, 100 Percent Fed Up shared a guest contribution by U.S. Ambassador Joseph Cella (2019-2021) and U.S. Ambassador Peter Hoekstra (2018-2021), who previously served as a U.S. Congressman from 1993 to 2011, and as U.S. House Intelligence Chair from 2001-2011, who warned of the dangers of allowing Gotion and other Chinese battery factories to be built in Michigan.
“In our service as ambassadors, we immediately faced how the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) are grave national security threats to our allies and the U.S. Troublingly, in our home state of Michigan, we are seeing first-hand how the PRC and the CCP are penetrating our shores on a subnational level, beyond the eyes of the U.S. government, with the strong and active support of both Democrats and Republicans,” they wrote.
“How can Michigan politicians in Lansing be so far out of sync with our national security and intelligence officials in Washington? Republicans and Democrats are not only welcoming the presence of PRC-based companies with ties to the CCP into our state, but they are inducing these companies to come to Michigan with lucrative financial incentives!” the ambassadors asked.
The approval of funds for the controversial CCP-connected battery manufacturing company Gotion has been met with contempt by much of Green Twp. MI and the surrounding communities. In addition to opposing a Chinese company with sworn allegiance to the CCP, residents across Michigan are very concerned about the environmental impact on West Michigan residents.
Michigan’s radical Democrat Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who recently attended the WEF (World Economic Forum), calls the plan to build a Chinese factory in Michigan “the biggest ever economic development project in Northern Michigan” while ignoring the environmental impact or potential security risks for the community.
Gotion Inc., a subsidiary of Gotion High-Tech Co. Ltd., a Chinese-based EV battery manufacturer, is pushing to begin work this Summer on a 408-acre factory in Green Charter Township.
In an official statement, Gotion Global Vice President Chuck Thelen responded to the concerns of Michigan residents about the company’s ties to the CCP. In his statement, he reiterates that Gotion High Tech is a publicly traded international company with a diverse board of directors, including citizens from Germany, the USA, and China.
*The official statement from the company is that within the Gotion, Inc., North America organization – which is responsible for the Big Rapids plant ownership – “There is no CC (Chinese Communist Party) organizational influence. No person on the team is a CCP member. There is no CCP organizational influence.”
However, in the ‘Articles of Association” of Gotion High-tech Co.Ltd., Chapter VI, Article 114, within those Articles is entitled “Party Committee,” which states:
*The Company set up the Gotion High-tech Co., Ltd. Committee of the Communist Party of China (“Party Committee”). The Party Committee shall have one secretary and several other members. In principle, the chairman and secretary of the Party Committee shall be the same person. Qualified members of the Party Committee may be elected to be members of the Board of Directors, the supervisory committee, or the senior management through legal procedures, and qualified members of the Board of Directors, the supervisory committee and the senior management may be elected to the Party Committee in accordance with relevant regulations and procedures.”
Finally, Article 115 states:
“THE PARTY COMMITTEE OF THE COMPANY SHALL PERFORM ITS DUTIES IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONSTITUTION OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF CHINA AND OTHER PARTY REGULATIONS.”
Hence, to say there is “no CCP (Chinese Communist Party) organizational influence is absurd.
In an informational meeting, Gotion Global Vice President Chuck Thelen also said the company has plans to draw 715,000 gallons of groundwater per day from a neighboring Big Rapids Charter Township well.
“I’ve heard dozens of speculation topics and scare tactics really designed to make people believe Gotion will destroy the environment. Nothing could be further from the truth,” Thelen said.
“Here’s one I like: ‘We will pump all the water out of the water table. Suck the water, drying up the wells surrounding us. The truth is our water consumption will be roughly 715,000 gallons per day. That is 50 percent of the pump capacity that’s at the current (two) wells on the Big Rapids Township property,'” he said.
Unfortunately, these are only assumptions. Thelen said he “would assume” such a water draw “would be safe for the environment.” Apparently, Thelen is comfortable taking such liberties with other people’s environments. But would he take the risks if he did not personally benefit? Or, how about if the CCP-connected plant was in his backyard?
When Nestle opened Ice Mountain, a water bottling company only 15 miles from the proposed Gotion site, environmental groups rallied with locals in protest. Yet Gotion’s intended draw will be significantly higher. According to The Midwesterner, in 2018, Ice Mountain drew roughly 360,000 gallons per day and sought to increase that amount, a move environmentalists fought.
At that time, Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation President Peggy Case said that Ice Mountain’s draw had impacted the water table,
“Even at 150 gpm, even when [Nestle was] pumping that, we’ve already seen the effects—there’s dry headwaters, there’s little feeder streams that are dried out.”
Osceola township manager Tim Ladd agreed, “You don’t have to be a geologist or a hydrologist to see those water levels; the water lake tables are lower today than what they were two years ago.”
The Midwesterner noted that environmentalists have been silent every step of the way on the Gotion project. Some have even argued in favor of the battery plant, saying it will help promote “green” energy. It is abundantly clear that Democrats, who currently run all three branches of government in Michigan, only talk about the environment when it suits their political aspirations.
Thelen dodged concerns about the water consumption while pointing to the pump capacity instead, acting as if the enormous drain of water would have no impact on the water table. Thelen stands to profit off of the project and is not a credible voice, nor does he have the ability to address environmental hazards without implicit bias.
Thelen can be seen addressing the 715,000 gallons of groundwater per day Gotion will draw from the local community.
CCP Gotion wants to draw 715,000 gallons of ground water per day, nearly double what Nestle’s Ice Mountain was initially drawing about 15 miles away.
Environmentalists fought Ice Mountain every step of the way, but have been silent about one of Gretchen Whitmer’s top priorities. pic.twitter.com/iziPwPSph7
— The Midwesterner (@Th_Midwesterner) April 28, 2023
Another environmental concern is the site’s proximity to the Muskegon River—the proposed location borders two of the river’s tributaries. The Muskegon River is the third largest watershed in the state and flows through multiple counties bringing economic life to the towns it passes through. The site also borders four wells that provide the bulk of Big Rapids’ drinking water.
Residents of Green Charter Township have repeatedly asked for information that might put them at ease, such as a third-party environmental impact study or specifics on what Gotion’s plans are for shipping hazardous chemicals to the site and what processes will occur on site. But rather than provide practical information on Gotion’s plans, Chuck Thelen calls legitimate concerns “scare tactics” while dodging his responsibility to provide timely answers. Green Charter Township Supervisor Jim Chapman also prefers name-calling over fact-finding. Since he has forgotten that he was hired to work for his local community, not against it, residents have taken the first steps to recall him.
Watch this local resident speak out against the purchase of land in mid-Michigan by the Communist Party-owned battery plant:
"I'm all for business, but not communist business."
Residents fight back after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gave $715 million in taxpayer funds to 700-acre Chinese battery plant near Big Rapids, Michigan: pic.twitter.com/fMijwBU89C
— The Midwesterner (@Th_Midwesterner) March 15, 2023
The Muskegon River is the third largest watershed in the state, and the proposed building site is next to two of its tributaries. The site also borders four wells that provide the bulk of Big Rapids’ drinking water. Michigan had previously made national news over its Flint water crisis in 2014 and again in 2019 when high PFAS levels were found in Rockford, just north of Grand Rapids, Mi. Wolverine World Wide, the largest company in the community, poisoned the water. Almost 800 homes in 7 separate contamination zones found PFAS in their drinking water. Some have concentrations more than 10,000 times the amount considered to be safe.
One angry tweet took a shot at Chapman. “I have expected Gotion to say a curse on your houses and walk away. It hasn’t happened, and I appreciate it,” says Green Township Supervisor Jim Chapman. Your recall is coming, Mr. Chapman. Michigan will never forget your lack of transparency, accountability, and respect for the citizens you serve.”
“I have expected Gotion to say 'a curse on both your houses' and walk away. It hasn't happened and I appreciate it," says Green Township Supervisor Jim Chapman. Your recall is coming, Mr. Chapman. Michigan will never forget your lack of transparency, accountability, and respect… pic.twitter.com/biNRkDOhHo
— Heather Dow (@PatriotPostGirl) April 24, 2023
Despite national, statewide, and local objections, Green Township Supervisor Jim Chapman has given enthusiastic support to the CCP-connected battery plant.
During the Summer of 2022, FBI Director Christopher Wray and his MI5 British counterpart Ken McCallum raised the alarm about the national security threat China presents. Wray warned that the Chinese use business ventures to influence local and state governments, “The Chinese government poses an even more serious threat to Western businesses than even many sophisticated businesspeople realize.” He also said, “The Chinese Embassy warned U.S. companies that — if they want to keep doing business in China — they need to fight bills in our Congress that China doesn’t like.” Wray said every 12 hrs the FBI opens a new counterintelligence investigation on China.
U.S. National Counterintelligence and Security Center echoed this concern in a statement saying, “Some of the goals of [Chinese government] influence operations in the United States are to expand support for [People’s Republic of China] interests among state and local leaders and to use these relationships to pressure Washington for policies friendlier to Beijing. Leaders at the U.S. state, local, tribal, and territorial levels risk being manipulated to support hidden [Chinese government] agendas.”
In an interview with Bridge, Chapman had complained about local resistance to the battery plant describing those pushing for answers as close-minded and uninformed. It’s ironic, really; he intentionally kept people in the dark and is now calling them ignorant.
Many involved in Gotion’s planning process have also signed non-disclosure agreements (NDA) and are ducking their responsibility to their constituents by hiding behind an agreement they should not have signed. People placed in office by their constituents are responsible for the transparent use of tax-payer dollars and should recognize their responsibility to answer questions truthfully is foundational to their job.