Indigenous tribes consulted by state and federal on $2.3 billion Ultium Cells project | New

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The US Department of Energy has invited six Native American tribes to consult on the preservation aspects of the Ultium cell development project.

The Department of Energy consulted with the Tennessee Historic Commission on how best to comply with the federal code regarding historic properties in the target area of ​​the $2.3 billion development project, as the National Historic Preservation Act requires the department to follow certain regulations in circumstances such as its involvement with Ultium Cells. The agency and commission determined that the Ultium Cells project would negatively affect Haynes Haven Farm and the Middle Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center.

As such, the Department of Energy sought input from the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas, the Cherokee Nation, the Chickasaw Nation, the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and the Muscogee Nation in its Section 106 review process.

Section 106, called “Historic Property Protection”, is a set of regulations in the 36 Code of Federal Regulations Part 800 by which Native tribes are not only notified but consulted through written correspondence, meetings, conference calls, emails and site visits. . This is sometimes invoked even when the land in question no longer belongs to the tribes of that land.

This happens two months later General Motors hosted Earth Day on site in the form of a community tree planting event to replace the general vegetation destroyed by the construction project. Development has progressed at a considerable pace, having commemorated the installation of the last beam of the structure with a closing ceremony earlier this month after only announcing the impending project around this time last year.

Ultium Cells applied for federal financial assistance through the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Loan Program. The company exercised the rights circumstantially granted to certain organizations under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. Introduced to Congress by the Democratic Party and signed into law by President George W. Bush, the law was adopted to, among other things, strengthen the country’s energy independence. and safety, increase the production of renewable fuels and increase the energy efficiency of products, buildings and vehicles.

The ATVM program is expected to lend funds to Ultium Cells for the construction and tooling of its 2.8 million square foot battery plant in the Maury County segment of Spring Hill, as well as the construction of a facility on-site recycling. Participation in the program, however, makes General Motors and LG Energy Solutions — the owner companies that share ownership of the joint venture, Ultium Cells — beholden to Department of Energy requirements.

Funds would also be allocated to several ancillary structures as well as soil storage areas, an existing spoil pile and a utility corridor. The recycling facility is already expected to span 120,000 square feet, excluding its parking area. In tandem with the main facility and ancillary structures, this project will represent 274 acres.

The ATVM program falls under the federal jurisdiction of the US Department of Energy, which is subject in a project like this to the regulations established by the National Historic Preservation Act.

The two agencies have jointly concluded that the Haynes Haven Stock Farm, for example, is agriculturally eligible to be indexed on the National Register of Historic Places because of its role as a show farm for Tennessee Walking Horses and its connection breeding with known horses.

The property is also considered a local example of late neo-classical farmhouse architecture with a craftsman-style stable like those of the late 19th century. The two agencies also agree that the Middle Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center may be placed on said register for historic preservation.

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