Approval of EV battery plant slows down, giving community time to have questions answered

NOW: Approval of EV battery plant slows down, giving community time to have questions answered

SAINT JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. -- The vote to approve the new site of Ultium, LLC was pushed back two weeks, giving the greater New Carlisle community time to have some of their questions answered Tuesday night.

General motors could have a huge presence in Michiana if it opens an electric battery plant in New Carlisle’s IEC, or Indiana Enterprise Center.

“This really is the future and if the future can start here, then we’re really excited about being a part of that,” said Bill Schalliol, the executive director of economic development for St. Joseph County. “The reason I think we’re really interested in it is because they really are next era technology jobs, making batteries for electric cars.”

The location is a finalist for Ultium, LLC, the company making the batteries for g-m.

“This is one of the lowest cost-of-living places they could go with this plant,” said Richard Pfeil, St. Joseph County Council Member.

Many are in full support of the venture, and the county has already approved a tax abatement, an incentive for Ultium, LLC to choose Michiana as its future home.

But some have raised numerous environmental and infrastructural concerns.

Tuesday night, the county council outlinined plans to protect the Kankakee Aquifer, which would be right underneath the Ultium plant.

“i think the town of New Carlisle’s been very clear to me as town engineer that that’s our responsibility and it’s a dedicated resource that’s very important to everybody involved,” said Jared Huss, town engineer for New Carlisle.

The council also discussed road improvements to State Road 2 to alleviate truck traffic.

In two weeks, Sept. 27, there will be a series of meetings and public hearings, then the council will vote to officially approve the project.

If gm chooses the IEC as the location for its fourth Ultium plant, construction could start as soon as next spring.

Plenty of frequently asked questions regarding the project can be found on the South Bend Regional Chamber’s website

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