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Michigan lawmakers ask EPA to speed up processing applications for GM battery plant

GM Lansing Delta Township
John F. Martin/John F. Martin for General Motor
John F. Martin
General Motors Lansing Delta Township plant Wednesday, October 13, 2021 at 8175 Millett Hwy. in Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by John F. Martin for General Motors)

Federal lawmakers from Michigan have asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to speed up its review of permits requested by General Motors.

The lawmakers said they’re worried that continued delay will slow the opening of a plant in Greater Lansing.

Democratic Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow joined Representative Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) and Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Tipton) in writing to the EPA this month.

They said GM submitted applications more than five months ago to use materials called carbon nanotubes as part of making electric vehicle batteries at three plants, including one planned for Delta Township just outside Lansing.

The use of carbon nanotubes requires special approval from the EPA because of concern that the substance can damage lungs if not handled properly.

The letter acknowledges the EPA is facing a backlog of hundreds of similar applications, but says the review period is supposed to be 90 days.

The lawmakers said they want the EPA to process the applications in an expedited manner by next month instead of taking the agency's usual “first in, first out” approach.

An EPA spokeswoman said the agency is reviewing the request.

GM has promised to invest $2.5 billion to build the Delta Township battery plant as part of a joint venture with LG Energy Solution. The automaker says the endeavor will create up to 1,700 jobs by 2027, according to documents submitted to the Lansing City Council for tax incentives granted by the city.

A GM spokeswoman did not comment on whether the company is concerned about delays, but said, "As we continue our work on site preparations to move forward with our investment in Lansing, we are grateful for the ongoing support from Representatives Slotkin and Walberg and Senators Stabenow and Peters."

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