NEW CARLISLE, Ind. — Leaders in St. Joseph County are lobbying hard to convince Ultium Cells to build an electric vehicle battery plant in New Carlisle.
The county has already passed a tax abatement for the partnership between General Motors and LG Energy Solutions to build the plant there. While the two companies decide, county leaders are being proactive on how the plant would impact the community.
One of the concerns for the potential project is the environmental impact it may have.
The proposal is for the plant to be built at New Carlisle’s Indiana Enterprise Center, a project planned for several tech companies to set up shop to manufacture their products, as well as logistics and agricultural companies to work in tandem. Many in the community feel an EV battery plant is a perfect fit.
But, the site where the proposed plant would be built sits right on top of New Carlisle’s main aquifer which supplies a majority of the water for people in and around the town.
“I think the town of New Carlisle has been very clear to me as town engineer that that’s our responsibility,” said New Carlisle town engineer Jared Huss at a St. Joseph County Council meeting on Tuesday. “It’s a dedicated resource that is very important to everybody involved.”
Huss said extra care needs to be taken to make sure any old wells to the aquifer are capped near where the plant would go.
“We want to take the extra step, that is voluntary, and above and beyond what the state and the county is required to do in a wellhead protection plan,” he added.
Furthermore, INDOT is planning to make upgrades to State Road 2 along where the plant would be in order to facilitate the increased truck traffic that would come in and out of the plant.
St. Joseph County is playing the waiting game now as they wait for GM and LG to make a decision. If they decide to build in the county, construction could start next spring.