Going Green: EPA Puts Brakes on Chevy Volt's Battery Manufacturer

Michael Schaus
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Posted: Sep 17, 2013 12:14 AM
Going Green: EPA Puts Brakes on Chevy Volt's Battery Manufacturer

After getting scolded by the Department of Energy for paying employees (with taxpayer dollars) to play cards and volunteer at local charities, the manufacturer of the Lithium-ion batteries for Chevy Volts finally got their assembly lines moving. . . Only to shut them down again because of “environmental concerns.” It’s kinda cute to watch liberals stumble through their own web of regulatory obstacles.

The LG Chem battery plant in Holland, Michigan was finally scheduled to manufacture a battery or two after years of endless delays. After receiving over $150 million in federal funds, and roughly $175 million in green-energy tax credits, the company decided that it should actually produce a product.

According to the original press reports, the company was supposed to hire over 400 workers, and start producing Lithium-ion batteries for the combustible Chevy Volt as early as 2012 – two years after they scrapped together some environmental fools willing to invest taxpayer dollars in their project. Serving as living proof that Liberals misunderstand the concept of business, the company then paid their workers. . . .well, to do nothing.

Earlier this year, the Department of Energy released an audit in which it reported that the company had only filled about half of its promised positions. Furthermore, the company had run into delays in actually conducting business. But, in an effort to avert giving any hard earned taxpayer dollars back to the Treasury, the company paid its workforce of 200 people to play cards, volunteer in their community, and generally slack off. Of course, this explains our current jobless recovery: Liberals clearly misunderstand the fundamental purpose of a job.

After the DOE audit, the company decided it should get around to doing what they received government funds, and crony capitalist tax credits, to do: Build highly toxic batteries for use in GM’s low quality inefficient hybrid, the Chevy Volt. But, c’mon. . . Let’s not rush into anything.

After being open for business (really this time) for barely a month, the company declared they would have to halt production because of a chemical that has yet to be approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. After reading about EPA agents storming a small community in Alaska with fully automatic weapons and Swat gear, one would have to think the company got off easy with a simple delay in manufacturing abilities.

The LG spokesman, Jeremy Hagemeyer, said “we are currently reviewing the registration status [for the chemical] and will work with the EPA to resolve the issue quickly. In the meanwhile, we are delaying production activities for approximately 6 weeks until we have confirmed the registration status or otherwise obtain approval from EPA.”

It is unlikely that employees will be paid for playing cards this time. According to Hagemeyer, the employees will be involved in continuous factory improvement projects, training, and in “maintaining readiness”. One can only assume this means employees will be prepping the factory for that fateful day that the government’s $300 million investment gets put to use. Apparently “shovel ready” doesn’t mean what most of us were lead to believe.

The unfolding of events for LG Chem epitomizes everything that has been wrong with the spontaneously combustible Chevy Volt experiment. The factory’s initial wasteful nature and disregard for the capital raised by the American taxpayer is indicative of the abuse that comes with government’s meddling in free markets. Would this factory have spent two years paying workers to play cards if the proprietors had fronted their own money? It is nearly a guarantee that private capital would never tolerate such inefficiencies. . . But, then again, that’s why private capital has been largely absent in the green energy sector – unless accompanied by government loans, tax credits, or guarantees.

The most recent delay in manufacturing is also irony-flavored icing on the cake. The environmentalists who hungrily gobbled up money from Big Government to fund their altruistic quest for efficient battery power, are now being stopped by environmentalist-driven Big Government regulations.

It is almost poetic justice. Except poetry shouldn’t cost taxpayers $300 million.