Georgia’s proposed site includes more than 1,000 acres of pine forests and about 300 acres of wetlands. A site study found the land includes gopher tortoises, a reptile that is considered an endangered species in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana but not in Georgia. The permit application said the state would “undertake voluntary relocation efforts” to move the tortoises to other habitats.
South Carolina has put forward a site in Berkeley County, which sits just north of Charleston. Georgia has also shown Volvo several other sites around the state that could be potential candidates for the plant.
Both states are making moves to pave the way for the plant, which would be a landmark – if costly – victory. The automaker would likely require a bounty of incentives, including grants, tax credits, infrastructure improvements and job training assistance.
The State newspaper reported that South Carolina hopes to borrow as much as $150 million to land the deal. The newspaper also reported that two key agencies called emergency closed-door meetings last week to discuss an economic development project.
Georgia officials have approved a budget that includes $40 million for state “deal-closing” funds, legislation that makes it easier for state agencies to buy vehicles made in Georgia and an overhaul of a state environmental commission that Gov. Nathan Deal has said could make it easier to land major projects.