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Georgia's Rivian deal a political wedge near future plant

Drew Kann, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on

Published in Business News

But in the counties surrounding Rivian’s future Georgia home, some local politicians — and others running for statewide office — have decried Kemp’s handling of the project.

Some residents said they feel officials stepped over them when the state took over the plant site, bypassing local zoning boards.

The facility’s influence on local politics is evident in the races for the Morgan County Commission.

Blake McCormack, a Republican candidate for the District 2 seat, said he feels the project has been forced upon residents. He said officials who have called for limited government while allowing Rivian to skirt local zoning decisions and offering tax incentives are “speaking out of both sides of their mouth on this.”

His Republican primary opponent, Keith Wilson, said he’s most concerned that the local community is not equipped to support a project of this size.

“I’m not opposed to this plant, I’m not opposed to electric cars, I’m not opposed to Rivian,” he said. “Republicans are opposed to it because it is not the right location for this plant.”

 

Even the Democrat running in District 2, Bob Baldwin, complained the project was “ramrodded” through by state leaders.

R.J. Scaringe, Rivian’s founder and CEO, said in a recent interview that Rivian will protect the environment and be a good neighbor, but change triggered by the company’s campus may be inevitable.

“The plant will be very sustainable, the plant will protect groundwater, but it is going to employ a lot of people by definition,” he said.

‘Hold back the onslaught’

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