New battery plant in Lordstown ‘ground zero’ for GM’s electric future, executive says

Local News

In a rare meeting with the public, GM addressed concerns the community has about the project

LORDSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – General Motors executive John Blanchard called the battery plant proposed for Lordstown “ground zero” for the company’s future in electric vehicles. His remarks came at a rare public meeting held by GM to outline the plan and answer questions.

The proposal is to build the plant on Route 45 in Lordstown, across from the Lordstown Energy Center, on land that abuts what is now Lordstown Motors.

Building the new GM/LG Chem battery plant will be the responsibility of GM executive Branden Brickles, who told a hundred people Thursday night that getting the plant operating by 2022 is a priority.

“We’ve got a lot of people in Detroit that want to put these batteries into a lot of cars as soon as possible,” Brickles said.

The batteries will be made solely for GM vehicles.

When describing the building itself, he called it “deceptively large.” For perspective, they showed how 31 football fields will fit inside the plant.

One concern has been the 66 acres of wetlands on the property and if the Ohio EPA will grant a building permit. GM’s Jim Hartnett explained how 57 of those acres were manmade, created when the land’s previous owner logged the property.

The solution will be to create 130 acres of wetlands elsewhere.

“We’ve identified a site, working with stream and wetland foundation, that’s within the Mahoning River watershed at the north end of Mosquito Creek in a wildlife management area,” Hartnett said.

The GM executives also listened to comments and answered questions, including one from Joann Vernon, whose family has lived on Route 45 since 1790.

“Is all the traffic that goes in and out there going to come out on 45 or are you going to make a road that goes down and comes out at Halleck Young?”

Right now, there are only entrances off of Route 45 and nothing off of Halleck Young.

While there were concerns about the environment and traffic, no one opposed the plant. In fact, one labor leader was thankful.

“I can say, from the [Western Reserve Building Trades], we want to say thank you for this project. Well done,” Carlton Ingram said.

The total construction cost of the plant is $2.3 billion.

It’ll create 1,100 jobs and while no exact numbers on wages were mentioned, GM said they would be competitive.

GM workers who took buyouts are eligible to apply.

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