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Judge declines to issue injunction to halt work on Ford's Marshall battery plant

Ford CEO Jim Farley announcing new battery facility in Marshall, Michigan
Ford Motor Company.
Ford CEO Jim Farley announcing new battery facility in Marshall, Michigan

A circuit court judge has rejected a lawsuit's bid to temporarily halt work on a Ford Motor Company battery plant near Marshall.

Ford plans to build a battery manufacturing complex on 2,500 acres near the city of Marshall. Part of the land needed to be rezoned for industrial uses, which the city council voted to do in early May.

A group of residents sued the city after it declined to schedule a voter referendum on the project. They oppose the project on numerous grounds, including environmental concerns and fears the plant will destroy the rural quality of life in the area.

As part of the lawsuit, the residents asked Judge William Marietti for a preliminary injunction to temporarily halt work on the site. But Marietti denied the injunction.

He said when Marshall City Council rezoned part of the site, it included an appropriation of funding for site plan review and building inspection, and that likely makes the rezoning referendum-proof.

Jim Durian is CEO of the Marshall Area Economic Development Alliance, which supports the Ford battery plant project. He issued this statement:

"Ford’s BlueOval Battery Park is poised to create 2,500 local jobs. The Ford project has received overwhelming support from local elected officials and also enjoys strong and broad community support from area residents and small business owners. Ford’s BlueOval Battery Park will help reverse years of job loss experienced by the Marshall community. We applaud the court for helping to ensure this vital economic development opportunity will continue to move forward in the weeks and months ahead.”

The Committee for Marshall - Not the Megasite, said, in a statement:

The committee is disappointed that the court did not grant a temporary restraining order on the work being done at the site while waiting for the hearing on the writ of mandamus to accept petition signatures. ... We continue to fight and prepare for our next day in court for the mandamus hearing.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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