Georgia Demands Rivian Secure, Maintain Factory Site

Issues Include Site Security and Stormwater Management
Rivian locked gate
A locked gate on a closed road near the site of a planned Rivian electric truck plant in Rutledge, Ga. (John Bazemore/AP)

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Electric vehicle maker Rivian said it is working to secure and maintain the site of its planned Georgia factory, as well as preparing the land for vertical construction as soon as it can move forward with the $5 billion project.

Letters exchanged by Rivian and lawyers for the state of Georgia and a local joint development authority show the state putting pressure on the California-based EV maker to divulge how it will comply with terms of its land lease and incentive agreement amid the stoppage. These issues include site security, stabilizing graded land with vegetation and stormwater management.

Runoff from the graded site has been a persistent source of frustration from neighbors of the property along I-20 in southern Walton and Morgan counties. A number of Georgia lawmakers have sought to punish the company, though Gov. Brian Kemp has said Georgia will honor its commitments to the state’s second-largest economic development project, and he expects Rivian to honor its promises.

In March, Rivian put the factory on pause before the start of vertical construction. Rivian also said it would shift initial production of the new R2 electric crossover it planned to build in Georgia to its existing plant in Illinois. The move was made to bring the lower-cost EV to market faster and cut more than $2.2 billion in costs.


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“This change in plans will require Rivian to promptly address issues concerning site conditions, site safety and post-construction stormwater and hydrology, among other issues,” lawyers for the state and the Joint Development Authority of Jasper, Morgan, Newton and Walton counties, wrote in the March 22 letter. The letters were first reported by Atlanta Business Chronicle.

In a statement and documents sent April 19 to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Rivian said it “is committed to bringing this project to life and fulfilling its responsibilities to the state and people of Georgia.”

That includes “strategic site development activities” the company said that “will allow us to transition quickly to vertical construction when the time comes.”

In a letter to the state and JDA dated April 18, Rivian Chief Policy Officer Alan Hoffman said “the depth and breadth of this work has not yet been determined.”

Rivian has said Georgia remains important to the company’s future and it expects to start vertical construction “as soon as we finish scaling the initial production of R2″ in Illinois. A specific start date has not been announced, but the company has said it expects to start R2 deliveries in 2026.

“Rivian’s overall goal is to use the pause to prepare the project to go vertical when the pause is lifted,” Hoffman said in his letter.

Long term, electrification is seen as the future of the automotive industry. The R2, a lower-cost crossover designed for mass-market appeal, is also key for Rivian’s future. But the sector has grappled with softening demand in recent quarters and a number of major players, including Rivian and rival Tesla, have cut jobs and made other strategic shifts to weather the storm.

Hoffman said that site security “is of paramount importance” and the company is developing security policies. Rivian will have fencing and controlled access of the site and its construction company, Clayco, will remain the site’s operator and “maintain a constant presence.”

Hoffman said Rivian would honor commitments it made under its lease and other agreements, including stormwater management and stabilizing the graded areas of the property. Those commitments include compliance with state and federal environmental regulations.

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State and local leaders provided Rivian with an incentive package of land, tax breaks, credits and other inducements valued at $1.5 billion in exchange for the company building the factory and hiring 7,500 workers. Most of the incentives, however, only accrue to Rivian if it meets its obligations.

Rivian’s economic development agreement requires the company to collectively meet 80% of its promised jobs and investment by the end of 2030 and maintain those metrics through 2049. Otherwise, they’d be subject to clawback measures.

In a statement sent to the AJC, Hoffman said “these concrete actions demonstrate our continued commitment to the state and people of Georgia as we look ahead towards construction of our future facility in Stanton Springs North.”


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