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DNR Approves Pulling 7M Gallons Of Lake Michigan Water For Foxconn Plant

City Of Racine Asked DNR For Permission To Divert Lake Water To Serve Facility In Mount Pleasant

Lake Michigan
cmh2315fl (CC BY-NC 2.0)

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has approved the city of Racine’s request to pull 7 million gallons of water daily from Lake Michigan for a Foxconn Technology Group manufacturing plant.

The agency approved the request Wednesday.

The Taiwanese company expects to break ground by next month on a $10 billion flat-screen plant in Mount Pleasant. The city of Racine asked the DNR permission to divert lake water to serve the facility.

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Under the Great Lakes Compact, all water diverted from Lake Michigan must be returned minus what’s lost to evaporation or what’s incorporated into Foxconn’s manufacturing processes. The city’s application estimated about 2.7 million gallons daily will be consumed and won’t return to the lake.

The Compact Implementation Coalition issued the following statement Wednesday:

It is unfortunate that Wisconsin DNR is ignoring the spirit, intent and plain language of the Great Lakes Compact, along with the voiced concerns of thousands of Wisconsin citizens around this proposal. In light of today’s rushed decision, we are reviewing Compact guidance to understand appropriate next steps.

Following the approval, Clean Wisconsin issued a statement saying the environmental organization is also reviewing the DNR’s decision and “weighing our options in coordination with our coalition partners.”

“This proposed diversion does not meet the letter or spirit of the Great Lakes Compact. Racine’s application is clear in stating that none of the diverted water from Lake Michigan would be used for public purposes, as required by the Compact and state law,” wrote Ezra Meyer, water resources specialist, in the Clean Wisconsin statement.

Editor’s Note: This story was last updated at 4:44 p.m. Wednesday, April 25, 2018 to include comments from Clean Wisconsin and the Compact Implementation Coalition.

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