Michigan lawmakers ask EPA to speed permits for GM battery plant in Delta Township

Riley Beggin
The Detroit News

Washington — A bipartisan group of Michigan members of Congress asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to expedite processing applications for General Motors and LG Energy Solutions' EV battery plant in Delta Township.

The companies submitted applications to build an EV battery component, carbon nanotubes, in September 2021, the lawmakers wrote in a letter dated April 6 and released Wednesday.

Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Holly, Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Tipton, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, and Sen. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, signed the letter. 

While EPA has a backlog of hundreds of applications and is taking them on a first-come, first-served basis, the agency is more than two months past the legal deadline, they wrote. If the GM and LG application's aren't reviewed by May, the launch of the battery plants would be delayed. 

"Given the importance of this project to Michigan and to our country's EV supply chain, we ask EPA to complete the reviews of the (applications) so that these important EV battery projects are not delayed," the lawmakers wrote.

EPA did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

GM announced in January it will spend nearly $7 billion — the single largest investment in its history — to build electric vehicle and battery production facilities at four Michigan sites.

The project is backed by $824.1 million in incentives from the state through a deal brokered between the Republican-led legislature and Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. 

One of those projects is a joint venture with LG Energy Solution to build a $2.5 billion battery cell manufacturing site near GM's Delta Township plant, which is expected to create around 1,700 jobs. 

GM, like other automakers, is in the midst of shifting its portfolio of products and plants to build electric vehicles. The automaker is spending more than $30 billion through 2025 to meet its stated goals of 30 EV product offerings globally by 2025 and 1 million EV sales in that same timeframe. 

The new EV and battery production facilities were seen as a win for Michigan after the state lost out on an $11.4 billion investment by Ford Motor Corp. for similar facilities in Tennessee and Kentucky. 

rbeggin@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @rbeggin