By: Diane Benjamin
There is a Facebook Group called Our Communities Oppose Rivian Assembly Plant. This is a Georgia group that doesn’t want their rural communities and farmland destroyed by this plant. They are also worried about the possible destruction of their water supply. Georgia is giving Rivian HUGE subsidies that has led to lawsuits.
Below are some interesting stories about Rivian, the second two reveal fender-bender accidents cost a lot. How long before insurance companies refuse to insured them? Rivian might have to sell their own insurance. (Town of Normal owns TWO)
I was asked to print the Letter to the Editor below. I asked Rivian for a comment and did not receive a response, I didn’t expect one. As of yesterday the citizens have not received a response either.
DEAR MR. RJ SCARINGE:
By now we imagine you’ve formed as strong an opinion of those who oppose your plant in our community as we have of you, your ambitions and your company.
For over a year, each of us has talked “at” the other without spending any time talking “to” one another.
Being stared at from the JDA side of the table by those who, in theory, are supposed to represent us, but who will not answer our questions, serves only to set a negative tone. But then again, opening with “this ship has sailed, “or “you should have known this was happening” and “Alan Verner always left the room” probably didn’t help much either.
We have now been reduced to communicating through the hardened rhetoric of lawyers, paid spokespersons, internet hecklers, and gullible media, which in truth, is no communication at all.
So, with that, we offer a white flag. This is not a peace offering, concession or surrender. Let’s simply lower the temperature for a moment so perhaps we can just hear each other out.
Sir, if you are serious in your stated desire to become part of the fabric of the community you have imposed yourself upon, then it is our sincere hope that you will see this for the opportunity it is intended to be.
We have collectively been referred to as NIMBY’s. This does not offend us in the way it is intended, as we truthfully do not want this in our literal backyards, atop our only source of drinking water, and I submit our position is not unreasonable.
It is reasonable to assume that Comprehensive Land Use Plans mean more than the paper they are written on.
The representatives who sit on county boards, even the JDA, were appointed to represent our views. Not yours, sir. In truth, our fight has more to do with those who betrayed that trust than it does with you. They did not represent us well. They did not go into our communities to gauge our feelings on this development.
Our elected officials should have been screaming from the hilltops “there is a really big thing coming!”
Instead, they cowered behind NDA’s, quietly waiting until they were confident it was too late to turn back before the JDA flippantly shrugged while exclaiming, “that ship has sailed!”
Then the State, deceptively, while trembling with fear of a loss in Morgan County, declared, “we’re taking this project over,” adding “and you’ll lose your county rights to Home Rule and the citizens’ voice.”
We believe, sir, that you were sold a bill of goods that wasn’t as rosy as the picture that they painted for you. But you’ve never made an attempt to find out personally. Our community did not “welcome this project with open arms” as they told you we did. Every single letter of support to the JDA “from the community” comes from an intentionally friendly sample group. Some of the most glowing letters were written by JDA members and county chambers of commerce.
The zoning code in the targeted agricultural community clearly does not permit heavy industry. Did they leave that part out?
Did they tell you not to worry about it? Did they tell you we were a bunch of hayseeds who wouldn’t understand how to mount a fight?
You claim to care about the environment and we have no reason to believe you don’t, except that you chose a very environmentally crucial and sensitive area to destroy.
The developers of your factory made some promises on your behalf that they have failed to deliver. You must forgive us, sir, when we are skeptical of the promises to “literally count every tree” when there is a giant mudhole in the middle of our once beautiful forested community and the trees are gone.
Surely you can understand our frustration with the filthy water that overflows from your site and into our streams, ponds and wells every time it rains. Neighbors literally across the street are inundated with dust, noise, the smell of diesel and unpleasant aesthetics of an enormous industrial brown space, they never imagined would be in their quiet little part of the world.
At a minimum, sir, you can see how bad the optics are.
As human beings, sir, we appeal to you to understand. The JDA doesn’t represent our interests. They stare, unblinkingly, as we pour our hearts out, begging them to do something, or at least give a damn about us.
They don’t hear us. They don’t listen. They do not care. They got their crown jewel development. That’s all that matters to them. You, sir, will have to live with the memory of this travesty.
They. Do. Not. Care. We are kind of hoping that you do, sir. They have told you that we hate you and that is not true. We are angry at those who failed to represent us, that much is true. We are saddened because our community is being upended and nobody in power in the county or state seems to care. Sherman’s troops destroyed Rutledge once. Are you going to do it again?
We are frightened by the prospect of losing the community we hold so dear, the fabric of which you know nothing, yet claim to deeply care about.
We hope that you do, sir. It starts with you getting out here and talking to us. Not the JDA. Not the politicians. Not the Chamber of Commerce. Not other communities throughout the state. YOU and US.
Come to the Rutledge gazebo and set a spell and let’s actually talk. We don’t bite. We’re just folks who care about our community. You should, at a minimum, understand that much about us by now.
The invite is to see us for who we really are and maybe we can talk this out.
The Soul of No2Rivian