A group of Calhoun County residents in Marshall, Michigan, filed a lawsuit aiming to derail a massive Ford battery plant. The case followed the move by local officials signing a massive incentive package with Ford.
The lawsuit is the most recent attempt to persuade Marshall city officials to acknowledge a community-led movement overturning the regulatory decision that permits Ford and its partners to begin construction on the EV battery plant planned for a section of the city’s 2,000-acre megasite.
Additionally, the lawsuit happens as Ford works to swiftly shift its emphasis to EVs, a process in the industry defined by historically significant public tax subsidies and massive layoffs intended to hasten the corporate move. The state of Michigan’s legislators is aiding the adjustment by granting hundreds of millions of tax money for economic development incentives. This week, they started awarding another $120 million for the Marshall Project.
Seven locals and a group named “Committee for Marshall — Not the Megasite” brought the complaint because they oppose the facility for several reasons. They claim it might pose “a dangerous environmental risk to the Kalamazoo River and the agricultural lands” in the Marshall area.
According to the residents’ counsel, if the court deems against them, the Marshall neighborhood will be in turmoil.
However, those opposed to the factory want the zoning to be put to a local referendum. They’ve attempted to achieve that by gathering signatures for a petition allowing people to decide whether to overturn or maintain the amendments and other provincial legislation required to use the property for the project.
Despite the project’s support from Ford and Michigan government representatives and their praise for local support, bitter local gatherings and this organized effort to scrap the idea raise the possibility that there is at least some opposition. A regional planning commission rejected the project’s request to rezone more than 700 acres.
The Marshall City Council disregarded the advice and approved the zoning change during a five-hour discussion with strong opposition. Soon after, the committee filed the necessary papers for citizens to vote on the zoning amendments with more than 800 signatures of eligible local voters.