Opponents of the Rivian plant have raised many concerns about the future factory. Among them are fears of runoff and pollution affecting the watershed and privately owned wells, which supply much of the drinking water to nearby residents.
At a community meeting earlier this month, residents were angry that they still have few details about plans to mitigate environmental impacts.
In December, Gov. Brian Kemp and Rivian formally announced plans for a $5 billion electric vehicle plant on a site in southern Walton and Morgan counties.
The state later took over development of the property after local opposition to the plans threatened to derail what Kemp has called the largest economic development project in state history.
The state formed four committees to hear community feedback on different aspects of the project, and each is expected to hold four meetings. The state held the first of four planned meetings of the site design and environmental impact panel on April 18.
“This committee is supposedly tasked with ensuring compliance with local, state and federal ordinances, but we don’t even know what the project looks like yet,” Jaclyn Brass, an attorney representing opposition group Morgan Land, Sky and Water Preservation Inc., said at the first meeting.
The next meeting is scheduled for Monday from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Athens Regional Technical College’s Monroe campus at 212 Bryant Road.
Jerry Silvio, chairman of the Joint Development Authority of Jasper, Morgan, Newton and Walton counties (JDA), said “protecting local groundwater quality is a top priority that we all share.”
The Section 404 permitting process is expected to take six to nine months, the release said.
The JDA expects to solicit bids for grading work in the next few weeks. Grading is expected to start in areas that do not contain wetlands as soon as this summer, the release said.
A note of disclosure
Cox Enterprises, owner of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, owns about a 4% stake in Rivian and supplies services to the company. Sandy Schwartz, a Cox executive who oversees the AJC, is on Rivian’s board of directors and holds stock personally. He does not take part in the AJC’s coverage of Rivian.