8 November 2018: Korean lead battery maker AtlasBX has effectively been given the go-ahead to open a plant in Tennessee, US in what is a clear boost for the industry in the US.
The last lead battery facility to open in the US was in the state of Georgia five years ago, and the one before that at least a decade ago.
Despite fears raised by local residents in Clarksville, Tennessee, the AtlasBX plant has effectively been given the go-ahead with an air permit issued by the authorities early October.
The facility will be the first US plant to be built by AtlasBX, which was founded 70 years ago and now exports its lead batteries to more than 120 countries, the company says.
The Clarksville plant will make around 2.4 million batteries a year, with a dedicated AGM line, local papers said.
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation issued the permit to AtlasBX, which is owned by the Korean tyre company Hankook Tire, despite residents raising fears of air pollution from the plant.
Local newspapers said the residents complained that any pollutants would be too many, but TDEC officials said the emissions plan outlined in the permit application fell within the required limits so it had to be approved.
The Clarksville Leaf Chronicle quoted TDEC spokesman John Fuss as saying regulated air contaminants would be emitted.
At a meeting in Clarksville in September, AtlasBX’s Joseph Kim tried to reassure members of the public and pledged ‘meticulous precautions’ would be taken, the paper said.
It set up its headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, in 2017, with plans to build the manufacturing facility in Clarksville.
BESB was unable to contact AtlasBX at the time of going to press, but BCI executive vice president Kevin Moran said: “It’s great to see a new battery manufacturer set up here in the US. The industry already employs more than 16,000 workers at an average salary of $62,343. It’s good news for the community, the workers and the industry.”