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Rivian opponents to rally in Rutledge
Development authority completes land transfer to state, details road closures, security efforts
Rivian opponents
Morgan County resident Joellen Artz tells Joint Development Authority members about Rivian's potential negative impacts on residents near the site in January in Madison. - photo by Denise Etheridge

RUTLEDGE, Ga. — The group opposing Rivian’s efforts to build a $5 billion electric vehicle production facility near Social Circle plans to rally this weekend in Rutledge as part of its continuing effort to halt its construction.  

And the four-county Joint Development Authority (JDA) issued a news release Friday detailing recent events related to site development, including the transfer of land ownership to the state government and filing required documents to begin grading of the 2,000-acre site in Walton and Morgan counties near Newton County’s northeast corner.

Our Communities Oppose Rivian Assembly Plant is set to meet Sunday, Sept. 11, at 2 p.m. at 3070 Old Mill Road in Rutledge for a rally and to hear updates on its legal challenges to construction of the facility.

“We know everyone is anxious to assemble, fellowship and have some questions answered,” stated a posting on the group’s Facebook page.

“This is an opportunity to hear the other side of the story from the No2Rivian legal team. Our legal representation (John A. Christy, Scott Peters and Stephen Mulherin) will provide an update and have a short question and answer session.”

The group’s legal challenges have included convincing a Morgan County Superior Court judge to delay approval of a bond issuance for the plant’s construction.

A judge in late July decided to delay validation of up to $15 billion in bonds for Rivian because of legal challenges to it from the group’s attorneys. 

The JDA, the site developer, was ordered to file briefs in support of its need for the bonds that will be used as part of the incentive package state and local agencies are giving Rivian in exchange for locating its plant employing up to 7,000.

However, the JDA issued a news release Friday, Sept. 9, saying it was "pleased with our continued progress on the site as we move closer to a groundbreaking."

"We eagerly await favorable rulings from bond-related lawsuits pending in Morgan County, but neither will impact the schedule for groundbreaking and grading."

The JDA also finalized the transfer of the Rivian project site to the state government last week, the release stated.

"This is a significant step in the process as it will allow site work to begin," it stated. 

"While the state will have ownership of the site, the JDA will continue fulfilling its obligations — including managing the grading, site work and security of the property."

The JDA also filed a Notice of Intent (NOI) with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) to begin grading outside streams, stream buffers and wetland areas. 

"As we await the NOI and other approvals, we will be conducting some preparations on the site such as mowing, flagging certain areas and staging equipment on the abandoned roads within the site."

Roads also have been abandoned and closed as part of the property transfer to the state, including Davis Academy Road and Lynch/Sewell Church Road.

Davis Academy Road has been closed and barricades erected just east of Darel Drive and at the Old Mill Road intersection, the release stated.  

"In an effort to continue bolstering our security, we will be placing cameras on the property (and) erecting more permanent barricades, signage and a gate that will allow authorized personnel to access the site."