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Dozens are concerned about transparency and the environmental impact of Rivian’s WSB-TV Channel 2 project
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Dozens are concerned about transparency and the environmental impact of Rivian’s WSB-TV Channel 2 project

MORGAN COUNTY, Ga. — Dozens of people crowded into what is usually a sparsely attended meeting of the Joint Development Authority of Newton, Walton, Morgan and Jasper counties to express their anger over the planned site of the massive $5 billion Rivian Electric Vehicle Plant. Gov. Brian Kemp announced this project at a huge State Capitol ceremony last week.

The Rivian project, which covers 2,000 acres in three East Georgia counties, would be the largest economic development project of Georgia and create between 7,500 to 10,000 new jobs.

Residents around the site are concerned about transparency and the impact on the environment. They also worry about the impact of such a large-scale project on their rural communities.

Miriam Shatterly, Morgan County, stated that she was so disappointed. I have lost all faith in Morgan County people who have brought this or are trying bring it to our area. It is beyond disgusting what you want to do.

Some residents expressed concern about the lack of transparency and their ability to move forward.


Ricky Haynes from Morgan County said, “Were here talking to gray walls.” We don’t feel like we are getting answers from anyone of you, okay? This lack of transparency should make you all ashamed. It’s really awful.

Debbie Crowe and others wanted to know more about the environmental impacts of the project on the area. Many of these people get their water from wells.

Crowe asked Crowe about my son-inlaw and his daughter. They can’t afford to have the well tested every month to ensure they have safe water to drink. Who is going to pay?

In December, Channel 2 Action NewsI sat down to Gov. Brian Kemp was available to answer questions about the project.

He called it transformational, and said it would be an economic boon to Georgia, even with the tax and other incentives it had to give up to attract Rivian.

Kemp stated that we weren’t the front runners. Kemp said that the company chose us because of our work force. We really sold them on this website. Incredible opportunity to work in an innovative company with great pay. It’s going to be just like Kia transformed West Point. And the SK Innovation really changed Commerce and Jackson County.

Construction could begin on the site in the summer. Rivian could release its first electric vehicle by 2024.


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