GREEN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Five Green Charter Township board members were ousted Tuesday night after voters recalled them over a controversial Gotion battery plant.
At the Mecosta County Building Wednesday, new Green Charter Township Supervisor Jason Kruse and Clerk Corri Riebow were both sworn in.
They represent two of five new board members taking their posts after the former board was recalled Tuesday night. That vote was driven by opponents of a $2.3 billion electric vehicle battery plant near Roben Hood Airport, planned by Gotion.
“We’ll be much more transparent and look for our constituents’ input before we move forward, especially on large projects that could change the environment and the area of our community,” Kruse said.
Much of the pushback centers around Gotion ties to the Chinese Communist Party, although the company says the CCP does not influence North American operations.
In reaction to the recall vote, Republican Congressman John Moolenaar wrote, in part:
“Now the (Michigan Economic Development Corporation) MEDC and Gotion should announce they are heeding the election results, listening to the will of the people, and ending this deal.”
Kruse wouldn’t directly say if the new board will try to stop Gotion from building the plant, but they will review the project.
“The board is going to look at all development agreements and all contractual documents that have been done with the right place, the MEDC and then we’ll make our decisions from there to make sure any of these contracts are a fit for our community,” Kruse said.
If the board feels the contracts aren’t a fit, Kruse said they will “look at options” but he added that a legal battle isn’t what new leadership wants.
Gotion recently sent a letter to the MEDC saying they consider the plant “a done deal” and they’re moving forward with many facets of the project.
In response to the recall, Chuck Thelen, Gotion’s VP of North American manufacturing wrote:
“Gotion is a multinational company that does not engage in political posturing. We continue to steadfastly work to meet our commitment of creating 2,350 jobs in the state of Michigan while communicating factually and transparently with all regulatory organizations.”
The Green Charter Township board was expected to meet next week but Kruse said that meeting will be delayed. The new board is determining when their first meeting will be held.
The remaining three new board members, Kelly Cushway, Robert Henderson and Jeff Thorne were also expected to be sworn in Wednesday.