– Oct. 26, 2022 –

EV does it

Officials from Georgia and Hyundai Motor Group grabbed their shovels and scooped from a giant sandbox Tuesday to ceremonially break ground on the company’s $5.5 billion electric vehicle and battery factory in Bryan County. The actual groundbreaking has been going on for months with clearing and grading of the 3,000-acre site visible from I-16. Hyundai plans to manufacture about 300,000 vehicles per year at what it calls its “Metaplant,” GPB’s Benjamin Payne reports. That’s more than six times the number of electric vehicles currently registered in the state. The South Korean company expects to employ 8,100 workers at the plant near Savannah and begin production by the middle of 2025.

More than a dozen officials participated in the ceremonial groundbreaking of Hyundai Motor Group’s planned electric vehicle plant in Bryan County. Among them were (from left) South Korea ambassador to the U.S. Taeyong Cho, Hyundai chairman Euisun Chung, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, and U.S. Senators Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. Credit: Benjamin Payne/GPB News

Downside of solar farms

Solar farms are a win/win for rural landowners and their communities who get paid for the use of their land while producing clean energy. But they’re not without unintended consequences, as Dave Williams of Capitol Beat reports. State regulators have noticed increased soil runoff from large-scale solar farms. Soil erosion from farms in general, not just the solar variety, is one of the biggest sources of water pollution in Georgia and can seriously degrade rivers and streams. One possible solution: Counties could adopt model ordinances governing permitting requirements to make sure solar farm applicants have plans for preventing or handling runoff.

Credit: Zbynek Burival/Unsplash

Gray’s Reef reaches out

Gray’s Reef sits just 19 miles off Sapelo Island but it’s not exactly easy to visit. To remedy this situation and raise the public profile of this marine sanctuary, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is opening the Gray’s Reef Ocean Discovery Center in downtown Savannah. Expected to be fully open in February, the center held an open house last week, as The Current’s Mary Landers reports. The center will feature free admission to interactive exhibits that teach locals and tourists alike about the reef’s diversity of fish, invertebrates and marine mammals.

Gray's Reef
A grouper ambushes its prey on Gray’s Reef. Credit: Gray's Reef National Narine Sanctuary

Upcoming events:

Camden County’s Spaceport plans are in limbo pending the outcome of two legal challenges, one over the legitimacy of the spaceport referendum and the other over the validity of the county’s option to buy the land for the project. In the meantime the new owners of the land adjacent to the planned spaceport are cooking up multiple possibilities for their property, including space research. Organic Capital Fund, LLC, with Michael D. Cole as the applicant, is requesting six “Special Use approvals” from the Camden County Planning Commission, including one for “Space Research & Technology.” The property, formerly the site of Bayer Crop Sciences, is currently zoned General Industrial. The Planning Commission meets 6 p.m. Oct. 26 at the County Annex Building, 107 North Gross Road, Kingsland.

Glynn has more Superfund sites than any other county in Georgia. This week the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is providing two opportunities to learn about upcoming remedial activities and status updates for all four of them: LCP Chemicals, Brunswick Wood Preserving, Hercules 009 Landfill, and the Terry Creek Dredge Spoil Areas/Hercules Outfall. An open house/information session will be held from 2-4 p.m. and from 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2022, at the Old City Hall located at 1229 Newcastle Street in Brunswick. EPA representatives will be available to provide information and answer questions. Representatives from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will also be available.

Reminder: The Savannah Tree Foundation, an urban forestry nonprofit organization, will distribute 500 free trees to Chatham County residents from 9 a.m.-noon Oct. 29, at Tricentennial Park on the Coastal Heritage Society grounds, MLK Jr. Blvd. at Louisville Rd. The trees will be in 3-gallon pots and 3 to 6 feet tall. Species include: American snowbell, bald cypress, Eastern redbud, Jane magnolia, loquat, persimmon, possumhaw, red maple, Southern live oak, Sweetbay magnolia, Tulip poplar, Tupelo (blackgum), white fringetree and white oak. All but two types of trees, loquat and Jane magnolia, are native to Coastal Georgia.

If you have feedback, questions, concerns, or just like what you see, let us know at thecurrentga@gmail.com.

Hyundai breaks ground on $5.5 billion, 8,100-job factory in north Bryan County

Hyundai held a groundbreaking ceremony in Bryan County for its planned electric vehicle and battery “Metaplant.”

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Giant solar farms proving a mixed bag for rural Georgia

Runoff from a growing number of giant solar farms polluting rivers and streams in rural South Georgia is becoming a major concern, an official with the state Environmental Protection Division said.

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Gray’s Reef comes ashore

Opening in February, a new Gray’s Reef center in Savannah hopes to connect locals and tourists to the underwater park.

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Justices question procedure, merit of Camden’s spaceport case

State Supreme Court hears oral arguments on spaceport referendum. Decision expected within six months.

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