BIG RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Just two days after Michigan lawmakers voted to approve $175 million of taxpayer incentives for Gotion Inc., a large crowd gathered to protest in Big Rapids.
Gotion Inc. is hoping to build a $2.4 billion electric vehicle battery plant in Mecosta County. On Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted 10 to 9 to approve the transfer of state tax dollars, which would allow state officials to move forward with the development.
“Take your Chinese company and go back across the pond, and go dig your own place up,” said Steven Prahl, a protester at Saturday’s event.
Many people who came to the rally voiced their concerns about Gotion’s ties to China, as well as the environmental impact the facility could have. While Gotion Inc. is based in California, its parent company, Gotion High Tech, is based in China.
“We don’t want it here. It’s dangerous. We’re zoned agricultural, and they’re trying to re-zone our property. There’s nothing that’s been truthful about this,” protester Lori Brock said.
Michigan Republican Party chairperson Kristina Karamo was also at the rally.
“We need every Michigander to join us and reject the Chinese Communist Party presence in our state and in our country,” she said. “They need to go back to China. I mean, look at how they abuse their own citizens. Look what they’re doing to the Uyghur Muslims. Why would we trust these people?”
Many supporters, including Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, said Gotion will create more than 2,000 jobs. Also in support is the president of Ferris State University, who said it will offer more opportunities for business.