The continued campaign by the blue bloods of Newton County and Chamber of Commerce against those that oppose the Rivian project has been disrespectful, distasteful, and sanctimonious. The concerns of the Rivian opposition group are legitimate, and no amount of intimidation will detract from the validity of the Rivian opposition’s concerns. The Rivian opposition group has been respectful for the most part, and the group has been working through the various legal channels to have their voices heard and their concerns considered.
For those on the sidelines enjoying the back-and-forth banter, I implore you to see the overall picture. The development of 2,000 agricultural acres into a heavy industrial automotive manufacturing facility will have a direct daily impact on the individuals that oppose the project who live or work near the Rivian site. Whereas the individuals who are supportive of Rivian may not live in the area near the Rivian site, so their daily lives won’t be disrupted. And there may be some Rivian supporters who will stand to gain substantial amounts of money by selling their large properties near the Rivian plant to the multi-family developers that are sure to flock to the area.
One of the perceived benefits of the Rivian plant that has been touted is that the Rivian plant will create many high paying jobs, and that these high paying jobs will be filled with local residents, potentially for generations of local families. Wasn’t this same comment made with the announcement of the Baxter pharmaceutical plant over a decade ago? How many of our local residents have been hired for jobs at that facility, high-paying or otherwise?
If there is anything good that comes out of the Rivian project, it is that we, the citizens, are now paying closer attention to actions that are supposed to be in our collective best interest, and we are not afraid to make our concerns known.