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Groups File Legal Challenge To Water Diversion Plan For Foxconn Facility

Groups Hope Judge Will Hear Case

Lake Michigan shoreline in Milwaukee
Thomas Hawk (CC-BY-NC)

Great Lakes groups have filed a legal challenge to Wisconsin’s approval of a water diversion plan needed to run the Foxconn liquid crystal display factory being built in Racine County.

The state Department of Natural Resources approved a proposal last month that would allow Racine to take 7 million gallons of water a day from Lake Michigan, to be piped to the plant. Most of the water would go back to the lake after being treated in Racine’s wastewater plant.

Attorney Jodi Habush Sinykin, of Midwest Environmental Advocates, said the legal action filed Friday afternoon argues the DNR made a mistake by disregarding a requirement that diversions be for public water supply purposes, which she said is clearly defined as “serving a group of largely residential customers.”

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“The integrity of the (Great Lakes Water Diversion Compact of 2008) is being tested by this misinterpretation, and we believe the compact is important enough to fight for,” she said.

The petitioners represented include Milwaukee Riverkeeper, the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, River Alliance of Wisconsin and the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy.

Habush Sinykin said having an administrative law judge in Wisconsin hear the case is a step allowed under the compact.

Gov. Scott Walker has repeatedly said Foxconn’s water diversion wouldn’t harm Lake Michigan.