Aiding Our Enemy

Written by David E. Smith

Illinois Tax Credits for a CCP-Company?

Significant opposition is growing over the Gotion electric vehicle battery plant now under consideration for Manteno, Illinois. On October 2, over 400 people attended a press conference and public comment session at the village board meeting to express their concerns about the project.

An hour before that meeting, the Illinois Freedom Caucus held a press conference demanding answers to some of the concerns Manteno residents have with a Chinese company building a battery plant in their community. One eyebrow-raising concern is the fact that the Chinese company, Gotion High-Tech, is in line for $7.5 billion in federal tax credits over five years, while the State of Illinois is kicking in an additional $536 million in subsidies to build the plant. The cost to build the plant is $2 billion.

There is opposition to the Manteno Gotion plant for a number of good reasons, including:

  • National security concerns: There are legitimate concerns that Gotion’s ties to the Chinese government could not only give China access to sensitive information or technology but also yet another foothold in the United States.
  • Economic concerns: Gotion’s expansion into the United States could harm American businesses and workers. For example, Gotion could receive subsidies from the Chinese government, or it could be given preferential access to Chinese markets. This could make it difficult for American businesses to compete with Gotion.
  • Environmental concerns: Some people are concerned about Gotion’s environmental record in China, and worry that the company would pollute the environment in Illinois. In 2019, the company was fined by the Chinese government for violating environmental regulations at its factory in the Hefei, Anhui province. The violations included exceeding emissions limits for wastewater and air pollutants. In 2021, Gotion was again fined by the Chinese government for environmental violations at its factory in Qujing, Yunnan province. The violations included exceeding emissions limits for wastewater and air pollutants, as well as failing to properly dispose of hazardous waste.
  • Under Investigation: Federal lawmakers in Congress, led by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), urged the Treasury Department to conduct a security review of Gotion, arguing that its management is under Beijing’s sway and would likely receive unfair advantages over American businesses, giving preferential access to Chinese markets. State Representative Adam Niemerg (R-Diederich) asked a series of vitally important questions to this point during the press conference:

    What vetting was done to protect Illinois and U.S. interests in this deal? What agreements were made to protect proprietary information of U.S. companies that may be involved in the project? Why wasn’t a Form 800, which is a standard federal form that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) uses to determine if any threats to national security exists in business deals, required? If any foreign companies need to be subject to a Form 800 – it would be a company with ties to the Chinese Communist Party. So again, I ask – Why weren’t any forms or disclosures required?

  • Human rights concerns: Many of us are concerned about Gotion’s alleged use of forced labor in its operations in China. During the press conference, State Representative Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville) said it defies common sense to make a deal with a company with ties to the Chinese Communist Party without requiring any kind of disclosures. He said China’s human rights abuses make them a bad-faith partner in business deals and continued by pointing out:

China continues to engage in coercive population control through forced abortion, forced sterilization, and involuntary implantation of birth control, and the CCP forced labor and detention of more than one million Uyghurs and other minority groups is well-documented. China has forced Apple to remove features that allow people to contact each other without the knowledge of the Chinese government to prevent dissidents from organizing. On Nov. 25th, 2022, video surfaced of an apartment fire in Xinjiang. People were trapped inside because the Chinese government locked them in as part of their cruel response to COVID-19. Imagine being forcibly locked in your apartment building simply because someone in the building had COVID-19. Then imagine not being able to escape a fire because your building is locked from the outside. This is who the Chinese Communist Party is.

Watch/listen to the entire press conference, which includes comments by State Representatives Chris Miller (R-Charleston), Blaine Wilhour (R-Louisville) and Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur):

(Now with sound!)

Other local concerns include:

  • Environment: Not only are residents worried about the potential for the plant to pollute the air and water in the area, but they are also concerned about the impact on wildlife and the ecosystem. The amount of water used to cool the batteries is astounding. How will contaminated water be reclaimed?
  • Traffic: The plant is expected to generate a significant amount of traffic, which residents are worried will put a strain on the local infrastructure and make getting around more difficult.
  • Noise: The plant is expected to operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, which residents are worried will create a lot of noise and disruption.
  • Quality of life: Residents are worried that the plant will change the character of their community and make it a less desirable place to live.
  • Economic: Some residents are concerned that the plant will not create as many jobs as promised, and that the positions that are created will be low-wage jobs.

Opponents of the plant have formed a group called the Manteno Environmental Coalition, which is working to raise awareness of the potential negative impacts of the plant and to pressure the village board to reject the project.

The village board has not yet made a decision on whether to approve the Gotion battery plant. Some local residents support the Gotion battery plant in Manteno. Some residents believe that the plant will bring much-needed jobs and economic development to the area. They also believe that the plant will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote a cleaner future.

A public hearing is scheduled for October 17, at which time the village board will hear additional public comment on the project before making a decision.

Read more:

U.S. Rep. LaHood wants answers from Gov. Pritzker about CCP-backed Gotion’s EV Plant (Wirepoints)

Blue State Governor Defends Deal With CCP-tied Company, Labels Criticism ‘Xenophobia’ (Fox News)

Piker on Proposed Gotion Plant: ‘Literally, we all found out about it a week before the announcement was officially made’ (Kankakee Times)

Illinois Residents Push Back Against Battery Plant Tied to China (News Nation)