Read the Room: Michigan Reacts to EV Mandates as China Engages in Lawfare

by | Apr 8, 2024 | America's Adversaries, Environmentalism

Pushback meets resistance in Michigan

The State of Michigan has emerged as a sort of Ground Zero in the fight over electric vehicle (EV) mandates. The Biden administration, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), leftist governors, green energy, and small town America have all converged in Michigan as EV mandates roil local, state, and national politics. Now, the CCP has engaged in lawfare against a town and one resident to keep its EV battery plant alive.

First, the backstory. A recent poll shows Michigan voters aren’t keen on EVs. Makes sense, as Detroit was the seat of American automobile manufacturing for most of the 20th century. When alerted to the Biden administration scheme of stealing money from Medicare Part D to subsidize EVs, even Democrats rejected the idea:

Michigan voters reject the use of Medicare savings to fund green energy projects. By a 77 to 13 percent margin, Michigan voters say it is a bad idea “to use money saved in Medicare to fund subsidies for electric cars and other green energy projects, while Medicare Part D prescription drug plan premiums are increasing.” Democrats reject this approach—passed by a Democratic Senate and signed by President Biden in the Inflation Reduction Act—by a 59 to 26 percent margin, and seniors reject it by an 82 to 12 percent margin.

Yes, the Inflation Reduction Act really does steal savings in Medicare to fund subsidies for green energy.

The Intersection of Green Energy, National Security, and Medicare

That reallocation of money intended to cut costs for seniors doesn’t just represent a public policy debate for Michigan voters. Those subsidies, along with many others in the Inflation Reduction Act, represent billions of dollars of funding going to EV manufacturers. With China dominating the EV market in manufacture of both vehicles and batteries, along with its dominance in rare earth mineral mining, those subsidies will end up enriching foreign companies over American manufacturers. One of those manufacturers—Gotion—proposes to take that money and build a plant in a remote part of Michigan where the locals don’t want it.

All in the mad pursuit of “green energy” solutions to a global warming problem that they’ve overblown to absurd proportions.

(READ MORE: Will Biden Subsidize China’s EV Factories in Mexico?)

A few weeks ago, Restoration News covered the beginnings of the CCP’s lawfare in Michigan:

In 2022, Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer invited Chinese-owned Gotion, Inc. to build a multi-billion dollar EV battery manufacturing plant in the tiny town of Green Charter Township, with a population just over 3,000. The city council then negotiated secret contracts with Gotion to provide infrastructure improvements to the plant site. When the residents got wind of the sweetheart deal that brought the CCP to their town at taxpayer expense, they recalled the entire city council. The new council’s first order of business was to rescind the development agreement.

Now Gotion is suing Green Charter Township, setting up this tiny hamlet as the epicenter of green lawfare by CCP-owned and operated companies in America. The city supervisor vowed the city will continue to refuse to be bullied.

The recall and recission of the contract made national news. It exemplified what can happen when local voters come together to exert their will on their elitist overlords. The CCP didn’t take that lying down, of course. Now they’ve come out in full legal force, suing the town for breach of contract. In a striking lack of self-awareness, the suit accused the town of “clear anti-Gotion animus.”

Will the Charm Offensive Backfire in Michigan?

Realizing the negative press they’ve garnered for their heavy-handed tactics, Gotion has scheduled a virtual town hall meeting April 8. Evidently hoping to go on a charm offensive, Chuck Thelen, Gotion’s North American vice president, will “update and share progress they’ve made so far” on development of the plant. Thelen said he would answer “any and all questions about the process milestones, use of local contractors, everything of those nature, whatever people want to know.”

The Michigan China Economic and Security Review Group released a statement about the upcoming “Chat with Chuck” town hall:

Hard working taxpayers of Michigan do not trust Gotion and its agents, and whatever comes out of these meetings will not be believed.

For several years, Governor Gretchen Whitmer, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and the Right Place have shrouded the ‘deal’ with the PRC-based and CCP-tied Gotion with binding and punitive NDAs, a silly secret code name, alienating citizens from across the political spectrum.

Gotion is further alienating itself from citizens by clear cutting a forest and backfilling on wetland-rich property without the requisite permit from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE), and has filed a questionable federal lawsuit to get the answer they are demanding from Green Charter Township, with another being threatened. Those campaigning for this “deal” have burnt all bridges of trust and relationships with citizens.

Liberal watchdogs also blasted the non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), calling them a “major red flag.”

(POLL: Michigan Voters Say Close the Border, Joe!)

Another Lawsuit

One question that may come up at the town hall could center around a new lawsuit Gotion has filed. According to the Daily Caller, Gotion has sued a man who sold them property over alleged breach of contract:

Stephan Fenstermacher, a man living in Big Rapids, sold land to Gotion under an agreement between the two parties that he can currently reside on the property.

Gotion is now looking to terminate Fenstermacher’s residency and possess the land, arguing Fenstermacher violated the terms of the agreement, according to a lawsuit first reported by the Michigan News Source.

Gotion claims Fenstermacher altered the property without consulting them first. He also allowed his son to hunt on the property without Gotion’s permission. They have demanded that he reimburse Gotion for costs to restore the property back to its previous state. They have filed an eviction action. The first hearing on that action is set for April 9—the day after the Chat with Chuck town hall.

While one could understand Gotion’s attempts to protect its lucrative, taxpayer-funded contract to build its plant, one has to wonder at its ability to maintain its status as a trusted employer and member of the community. Scheming in secret with leftist Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) and members of the previous city council, hiding details of the deal, all while relying on taxpayer funding doesn’t sit right with the locals—as evidenced by the successful recall of the city council responsible for the deal. Throwing its legal weight around in a series of lawsuits will only enflame the situation more.

As the Daily Caller notes, this also has foreign policy and national security implications. After all, Gotion High-Tech, the parent company of Gotion, Inc., employs almost one thousand members of the CCP. That includes the company’s CEO, Li Zhen.

It sure seems like Michigan, Gov. Whitmer, the Biden administration, and the CCP haven’t read the room, so to speak. It sure doesn’t seem the locals will continue to put up with these heavy-handed tactics.

(READ MORE: Michigan Democrats Woo the Felon Vote)

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