BIG RAPIDS, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – Former ambassadors Peter Hoekstra and Joseph Cella, who serve with the all-volunteer run organization the Michigan-China Economic and Security Review Group, have sent a letter to Michigan state senators to advise them to reject giving the final $715 million in taxpayer dollars to fund the PRC and CCP-tied Gotion Inc.’s lithium ion battery manufacturing plant. The Michigan Senate Appropriations Committee will be voting on the matter today. There are 19 senators on the committee, 13 Democrats and six Republicans.
The mission of the group that Hoekstra and Cella belong to is to monitor, assess, and report on the threats, potential threats, or emerging threats, from The People’s Republic of China (PRC), along with The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) its entities, affiliates, or their associates, including PRC-based companies, through sub-national incursions and presence in other forms, and assist in mitigating or reducing those threats to the State of Michigan. Hoekstra and Cella have been voicing their concerns about the project recently, as reported by Michigan News Source.
In a statement, the former ambassadors say, “Multiple grave national security threats and possible breaches of federal law, are casting a dark cloud over the Gotion project. Michigan Senators on a bi-partisan basis should delay a vote until it is determined these grave threats can be resolved and vote no if for whatever reason a vote advances. If they do otherwise, they will be harming our national security and the security of the State of Michigan.”
The statement continues, “U.S. intelligence agencies have warned state and local governments of the national security threat presented by such PRC-based companies and urging them not to sign any deals with them. Why is Michigan ignoring them? Governor Gretchen Whitmer, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, certain Michigan legislators, The Right Place, some in local government, and other parties to the project have taken it upon themselves to effectively grant national security clearance for Gotion, Inc. to come into the heart of Michigan. The State of Michigan is not a sovereign entity when it comes to assessing our national security. Our state officials and other parties have no capacity to even make such an assessment, and it is particularly dangerous to take it upon themselves to do so.”
The former ambassadors say, “Parties to this project have an obligation to protect our national security, abide by the law, and to be transparent with taxpayers, particularly when dealing with the PRC and the CCP who are adversaries on the hunt for such subnational incursions to conduct influence and espionage operations. The proposed Gotion project is a textbook attempt of a subnational incursion.”
In their statement, Hoekstra and Cella implore the senators to reject the funding for Gotion and say, “For the sake of our national security and the security of the State of Michigan, the Gotion project should be rejected.”
Republican State Senator Lana Theis, who represents the state’s 22nd district, tweeted on Tuesday, “On Wednesday, the #MISenate Appropriations Committee is set to approve a transfer of nearly $800 million dollars – of your taxpayer dollars – to the China-based battery maker, Gotion, who openly shows us their partnership with the Chinese Communist Party. As a member of the MI Senate Approps Ctm, I am voting no. Let’s take a journey and let me walk you though why the rest of my colleagues should join me in voting no as well.”
The three million square foot $2.3 billion Gotion battery plant project, which had been concealed under the code name of “White Elephant,” has become a controversial deal with many in the Big Rapids community opposing the plant because of environmental and security concerns.
Last week, hundreds of community members in Big Rapids showed up in front of Ferris State University to protest the plant with their “No to Gotion” signs and hundreds more watched the virtual video presentation by Gotion and their partners.
Despite all of the protests against the China-linked batter plant, Green Charter Township Supervisor Jim Chapman says that the project has support from the “silent majority.”