While the looming construction of a battery plant may threaten the existence of three species of wildlife in a Big Rapids, MI neighborhood, an organization has promised to take the necessary legal steps to endanger the progression of the project. The Mecosta Environmental and Security Alliance (MESA) is offering the owners of the proposed electric vehicle battery plant, Gotion Inc., less than 60 days to respond to the group’s notice of intent to sue. MESA predicts that Gotion may either sell the property or work directly with wildlife agencies to ensure the safety of the at-risk species.
The result of either of these options may only be reached if Gotion acknowledges that the location and operation of the plant will violate the Endangered Species Act. However, if Gotion either ignores the notice of intent to sue or does not recognize the severe impact that the plant may have upon the surrounding wildlife, MESA will move forward with filing a lawsuit. According to MESA, the Gotion-owned property is home to bald eagles, rusty patched bumblebees and Karner blue butterflies. MESA is prepared to offer substantial evidence to prove that a large plant would impede the living conditions of these three species and destroy or harm their only source of food.
Within the Endangered Species Act, MESA has cited Section 9, which allows private citizens to take legal action against government agencies or third parties in the event that these entities take endangered species by harming them, killing them, or disrupting their habitat or food supplies. Despite the potential threats to the environment, a year ago, the Gotion battery plant was approved by the Mecosta County Board of Commissioners, the Green Charter Township Board of Trustees, and the Big Rapids Charter Township Board of Trees. Since reaching this vote, residents and opposition groups have protested and continue to work toward protecting their community.