Urgent in Michigan – PROTEST Wednesday, April 5!

By: Steve Huston

Bill Johnson says, This will be the most important protest that I’ve taken part in, in Michigan, during my lifetime. That’s a big statement, but he is right! If the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is allowed an entrance into Michigan, it will put a smothering blanket over all issues. The implications are vast. It will affect our land, our physical health, and, with getting a foothold here, dire implications regarding our First Amendment and religious rights sure to be just around the corner. Once this is done, it can’t be undone; we cannot fathom the damage that would be done to our land, community, and way of living. If you live in Michigan but not near Big Rapids do not be fooled into thinking that this is someone else’s problem. If will affect all of us, directly and/or indirectly.

Some of you are likely wondering: “What protest?” “What are you talking about?” First, let me explain the protest, why it’s important that you show up, and then other actions that we must take to do all we can do to protect The Great Lakes State and her citizens – our family, friends, neighbors, and freedoms! (This is a lengthy email but it’s full of information we need to know. I urge you to read through to the end and share it with your friends – it’s that urgent!)

The Protest:

If you are not aware of the CCP Gotion plant that is proposed to open in Green Township (Big Rapids area), I urge you to inform yourself. We wrote a short article on it last week here.

On April 5 there was supposed to be a forum open to the public in which the proposed CCP Gotion plant would be discussed.  However, township officials have now declared their meeting will be virtual – with no opportunity for the public to speak out!  Already an attack on our First Amendment rights to be heard by our governing officials.

In response, those concerned and opposed to the CCP Gotion plant are asked to come to Big Rapids on Wednesday, April 5 at 6:30 p.m. and line the streets through town to peacefully stand in opposition. (More information next week on where to park and meet.) It is the goal to have hundreds, if not more, in attendance.  Media, including Fox News, will reportedly be covering the protest.  We urge you to attend.  If you’re able to bring a sign, please do so. Remember, there are several issues at stake here: Ecological, Physical health, Freedoms, Spiritual, and the list goes on.

Why we must show up:

As stated, there is MUCH at stake. We’ve recently received an email with a great amount of important information regarding this deal. I’ll share it here:

Title: The Right Place has picked the wrong county for a $2.2B Gotion battery plant

If this is an issue that concerns you, the information below will help you communicate key concerns to your legislators. If it’s not an issue that concerns you…I ask you to please at least consider the points below.

This information has been assembled after ~20 hours of primary research, which has included directly speaking with many of the decision makers involved. For context, I (Marjorie Steele, a Green Township resident), have written for state and national publications as a journalist, have written federal grants, and have even spent several years working in leadership positions in urban real estate development. Tl;dr – this information is thoroughly sourced and accurate, as of today’s date (3.15.23).

Talking points: failure to perform basic due diligence and good faith disclosure

1) No information regarding environmental impact has been made public. 

Big Rapids Township Treasurer Bill Stanek says The Right Place hired a third party to perform one, but that he hadn’t read it, and the township didn’t have a copy. None of the local officials I’ve spoken with seemed to have any knowledge of the survey’s contents. No environmental impact survey is provided on The Right Place’s Gotion project page, nor is one referenced.

The Right Place, on its website, in “CIP Considerations for Project Elephant” states, in regards to environmental contamination, simply “All development changes the natures of the land. Through planning, monitoring, and enforcement of regulations, hopefully environmental contamination can be kept to a minimum.”

“Hopes” for low environmental contamination are an insultingly inadequate assessment for the future of an entire town’s land and water systems.

2) The plant will most likely use toxic chemicals (N-Methylpyrrolidone, aka NMP)

Known lithium battery cathode/anode manufacturing processes (like that which Gotion Inc proposes to build in Big Rapids) use a type of chemical which are known to be hazardous to human and environmental health (specifically: N-Methylpyrrolidone, aka NMP). What’s more: EPA and other government regulations are behind on regulating NMP and similar chemicals such as PFAs / perfluorochemicals.

In light of this information, The Right Place’s assurance that the plant will enforce existing regulations make it an outright certainty that the plant will take no proactive measures whatsoever to mitigate NMP contamination, were they to fall outside of currently lax guidelines.

3) No third party economic assessment has been performed

The only economic impact projections which have been provided for the project (2,350 jobs, avg $61K salary) were sourced from “Project Elephant,” which is Gotion.

A project of this size (over $2.2B in total) in a community of this size (~30,000) deserves the proper due diligence of an independent economic impact assessment.

4) Over $14M in infrastructure costs are TBD

City planners have stated The Right Place plans to fund what would be to Big Rapids massive road/water/sewer changes through unnamed grants, and the Right Place’s project pro forma lists funding for infrastructure as “TBD”. Our local road commission is woefully underfunded already; we should have assurance that the community won’t have to foot the bill for these infrastructure costs.

5) Unknown if there is undisclosed conflict of interest between RP CEO Randy Thelen and Gotion VP Chuck Thelen

The CEO of the Right Place, Randy Thelen, is (according to local township leaders) spearheading the Gotion plant project for The Right Place. The lead VP on the project from Gotion, aka “Project Elephant,” is Chuck Thelen. The two men share a family name, and are both from Michigan.

The Right Place has not disclosed whether or not Randy and Chuck share a family relation. The community deserves the disclosure of this information, one way or the other.

6) Direct and indirect ownership by Chinese government

The Right Place discloses on their website that the Gotion plant in Big Rapids would have 0.13% direct ownership by the Guangdong Government, and that another ~22% would be owned by Chinese entities. This means the plant would have both direct ownership by Chinese companies, and would also give the Chinese government access to the plant.

What else we can do:

 My co-worker, Chris Johnson, recently wrote these words in our free monthly newsletter: “The Gotion plant is not a done deal yet. There is still lots of planning to be done, permits to go through, and the incentives package still has to go through the legislature. But there is significant pressure on the state government to make this deal happen. Pray that it doesn’t, for the long term good of the nation and the people of Michigan.

Let’s pray and then contact the following members of the Green Township Board (and others) and respectfully, yet urgently, express your concerns, asking them to put a stop to this. Cutting it off at the local level is the best way. They have a stake in their community; their children and friends live there. The lack of research and information alone should be alarming. Email or call these individuals urging them to consider the whole picture and our future. Take one or two of the talking points under “Why we must show up,” put them in your own words, and send it to as many people on the list below that you are able to.

Green Township Board:

Supervisor:  James Chapman – supervisor@greentownship.org 231-796-2284

Clerk:  Janet Clark – clerk@greentownship.org 231-796-5086

Treasurer: Denise MacFarlane – treasurer@greentownship.org 231-796-6201

Big Rapids Township Treasurer/Gotion project lead: Bill Stanek 231-796-3603


Roger Carroll – r-t-carroll@hotmail.com 231-218-8904

Dale Jernstadt – dalejernstadt@gmail.com 231-250-8592

James T. Peek – jlpeekbr@gmail.com 231-796-9160

Gary D. Todd – 231-796-6012

Seth Lattimore assessor@greentownship.org 231-796-6201


MI Senator Roger Hauck (District 34)  rogerhauck@house.mi.gov 517-373-1760

MI House of Reps Tom Kunse (District 100)  tomkunse@house.mi.gov 517-373-7317

Find your local representatives using your address here:  https://www.michiganvotes.org/Find.aspx

Senate Appropriations Committee:

Sarah Anthony (D) Chair 
Sean McCann (D) Majority Vice Chair 
Kristen McDonald Rivet (D) 
John Cherry (D) 
Rosemary Bayer (D) 
Sylvia Santana (D) 
Sue Shink (D) 
Jeff Irwin (D) 
Kevin Hertel (D) 
Darrin Camilleri (D) 
Veronica Klinefelt (D) 
Mallory McMorrow (D) 
Mary Cavanagh (D) 
Jon Bumstead (R) Minority Vice Chair 
Thomas Albert (R) 
John Damoose (R) 
Mark Huizenga (R) 
Rick Outman (R) 
Lana Theis (R) 


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