Judge allows Chinese EV battery maker to continue development of Michigan plant

A judge has ordered a Michigan community to stop blocking efforts to bring in a major electric vehicle batteries company to a rural region.

Gotion, a China-based manufacturer, was granted a preliminary injunction Friday after alleging that Green Township in Mecosta County has refused to abide by an agreement made by elected officials who were subsequently removed from office.

Despite remember last NovemberAccording to Gotion, a deal is still a deal.

Gotion “has already invested more than $24 million in the project in the form of property acquisition costs and other related fees,” U.S. District Judge Jane Beckering said.

She ordered the municipality to comply with a previously approved development agreement while the case remains in court.

The company plans to make components for electric vehicle batteries about 60 miles north of Grand Rapids. The project, worth more than $2 billion, could create thousands of jobs.

It has the support of state officials, including Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Millions of dollars in financial incentives have been approved.

But Green Township apparently isn’t enthusiastic. The supervisor, clerk, treasurer and two trustees — all Republicans — were voted out of office last fall and replaced by anti-Gotion candidates. Some critics cited ties to China and said the factory could pose a threat to U.S. national security.

The new council voted 4-3 to withdraw an agreement that would deliver water to the plant site from the city of Big Rapids and also voted 5-2 to end support for the project.

“This case is simply about a township exercising its constitutional and legislative power to control its future,” township attorney T. Seth Koches said in a court filing.