GM Gets OEPA Certification for $2.3B Battery Plant

LORDSTOWN, Ohio – Plans for the proposed $2.3 billion battery plant advanced Wednesday with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s issuance of a water quality certification to General Motors LLC. 

The approval, one of several GM is seeking, follows a virtual hearing held March 12 after an in-person public meeting was cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak and a public comment period that ended March 22. 

In December, GM announced a joint venture with LG Chem of South Korea to build a battery cell plant in the village that would power GM’s line of electric vehicles. GM purchased thr 158-acre site last month for $5.1 million.

The certification is a “required component” of GM’s application with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that would allow stream and wetland filling for construction in the Mud Creek Watershed within the Mahoning Watershed. According to a news release from Ohio EPA, the proposed degradation of water quality would be offset though a mitigation plan that was reviewed by the agency and tailored to ensure long-term protection for the wetland restoration project. 

GM has announced plans to break ground as early as this month once it gets all the permits it needs. 

“We’re obviously pleased. Securing the approval from the EPA is another important step in us moving forward,” GM spokesman Dan Flores said Wednesday. “Once we get all the permits in place, we’ll begin construction as quickly as we can.” 

Among the approvals GM awaits are construction permits, and Mayor Arno Hill said he expects the company to be submitting materials to the village in the next seven to 10 days. Because of the size and scope of the project, the village might have to approve it in pieces. 

“GM would like to be moving dirt and start getting everything finalized by the end of the month,” Hill said. “I think they’re going to be good to go by the end of the month for the most part.”

“We want to break ground as soon as we can” but that is out of the company’s hands as it awaits approval of the remaining necessary permits, Flores affirmed. “But those are progressing forward and we don’t anticipate any issues.”

Issuance of the certification can be appealed to the Ohio Environmental Appeals Commission.

Image: General Motors Corp.

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