DE SOTO, Kan. (WDAF) — 9,000 acres. That’s how big the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant site is. Panasonic’s new electronic vehicle battery facility is supposed to cover just 300 acres of it, less than 10%.
“There’s still environmental remediation going on portions of the property,” City Administrator Mike Brungardt said in an interview with FOX4 Thursday.
The environmental remediation Brungardt is talking about is not the part that Panasonic is building on though. Brungardt said that work is already completed, and it’s been certified by the EPA.
“And so it’s a clean bill of health on the 300 acres that is the site of Panasonic.”
Brungardt said the Sunflower Redevelopment Group is responsible for cleaning up buildings and road beds on the development site. They’ve had ownership of the property since 2004.
“So, what I can tell you is with Panasonic’s announcement yesterday, that involves 300 acres of the nine thousand acres,” Brungardt continued. “The environmental remediation and all of the remediation of structures is largely complete on that 300 acres, so that property is ready now to be made pad ready for a manufacturing facility.”
Brungardt said buildings still need to be torn down, and the area needs to be cleared.
“We think within a month, mass grading will start on the site to make it pad ready.”
Panasonic is not confirming the timeline Brungardt laid out.
“The site we have identified in De Soto provides a unique opportunity to turn the location into an economic engine that can power a community and state into the future. We will work closely with the owner of the site to properly prepare it for development when reaching agreement,” a Panasonic Energy spokeswoman said in a statement to FOX4 Thursday.
“We do not have an announcement to make on that right now on construction. In the meantime, yesterday’s announcement is an exciting next step as we focus on moving the world forward, producing the highest quality batteries for electric vehicles and achieving greater efficiency and economies of scale, which is critical to a net-zero emissions future. The proposed project, which is expected to drive significant economic activity and opportunities for the local economy, could create up to 4,000 new jobs and result in a potential investment of approximately $4 billion. As appropriate, we will share additional details as the project progresses.”