Anna Clark (author of The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the American Urban Tragedy) asks Why should Wisconsin drain Lake Michigan for Foxconn?:
The Great Lakes — five inland seas holding one-fifth of all the fresh water on Earth — are vast, but they are not limitless. So it is alarming that Wisconsin intends to send water out of the basinnot because public health demands it but because a private company wants it. This cuts against the understanding of the lakes as a public trust and, in an era of nationwide water insecurity, sets a dangerous precedent.
Foxconn Technology Group, a Taiwanese electronics manufacturer, is building a plant to make LCD screens in Mount Pleasant, Wis. The state that landed Foxconn with environmental waivers and about $4 billion in incentives decided that it was fine for it to have Great Lakes water, too. In 2018, Wisconsin granted a permit for Racine and Foxconn to use 7 million gallons a day from Lake Michigan, taking it outside the area where water naturally returns to the Great Lakes watershed.
The diversion sidesteps a key piece of water policy that is commonly called the Great Lakes Compact. The compact, along with Ontario and Quebec’s parallel agreement, is a protocol for when water can be taken outside the basin — which is to say, almost never. But there are exceptions for cities and counties that straddle the watershed boundary. With its groundwater contaminated by naturally occurring radium, Waukesha, Wis., went through an intensely scrutinized application to take water from Lake Michigan. It took seven years, including legal appeal, before the diversion was finalized.
There’s a twist to this story. After the DNR approved the diversion, Foxconn dramatically reduced the scope of its plant. But its water allotment is unchanged. Taxpayer dollars are already paying for expanded infrastructure. As a steward of the Great Lakes, Wisconsin should proportionally scale back Foxconn’s diversion. One Taipei-based analyst estimates that Foxconn’s new plans require only 1.4 million gallons a day, rather than 7 million.
Previously: 10 Key Articles About Foxconn, Foxconn as Alchemy: Magic Multipliers, Foxconn Destroys Single-Family Homes, Foxconn Devours Tens of Millions from State’s Road Repair Budget, The Man Behind the Foxconn Project, A Sham News Story on Foxconn, Another Pig at the Trough, Even Foxconn’s Projections Show a Vulnerable (Replaceable) Workforce, Foxconn in Wisconsin: Not So High Tech After All, Foxconn’s Ambition is Automation, While Appeasing the Politically Ambitious, Foxconn’s Shabby Workplace Conditions, Foxconn’s Bait & Switch, Foxconn’s (Overwhelmingly) Low-Paying Jobs, The Next Guest Speaker, Trump, Ryan, and Walker Want to Seize Wisconsin Homes to Build Foxconn Plant, Foxconn Deal Melts Away, “Later This Year,” Foxconn’s Secret Deal with UW-Madison, Foxconn’s Predatory Reliance on Eminent Domain, Foxconn: Failure & Fraud, Foxconn Roundup: Desperately Ill Edition, Foxconn Roundup: Indiana Layoffs & Automation Everywhere, Foxconn Roundup: Outside Work and Local Land, Foxconn Couldn’t Even Meet Its Low First-Year Goal, Foxconn Talks of Folding Wisconsin Manufacturing Plans, WISGOP Assembly Speaker Vos Hopes You’re Stupid, Lost Homes and Land, All Over a Foxconn Fantasy, Laughable Spin as Industrial Policy, Foxconn: The ‘State Visit Project,’ ‘Inside Wisconsin’s Disastrous $4.5 Billion Deal With Foxconn,’ Foxconn: When the Going Gets Tough…, The Amazon-New York Deal, Like the Foxconn Deal, Was Bad Policy, Foxconn Roundup, Foxconn: The Roads to Nowhere, Foxconn: Evidence of Bad Policy Judgment, Foxconn: Behind Those Headlines, Foxconn: On Shaky Ground, Literally, Foxconn: Heckuva Supply Chain They Have There…, Foxconn: Still Empty, and the Chairman of the Board Needs a Nap, Foxconn: Cleanup on Aisle 4, Foxconn: The Closer One Gets, The Worse It Is, Foxconn Confirm Gov. Evers’s Claim of a Renegotiation Discussion, America’s Best Know Better, Despite Denials, Foxconn’s Empty Buildings Are Still Empty, Right on Schedule – A Foxconn Delay, Foxconn: Reality as a (Predictable) Disappointment, Town Residents Claim Trump’s Foxconn Factory Deal Failed Them, and Foxconn: Independent Study Confirms Project is Beyond Repair.