Jesiel Raises Public Health Concerns Over Fast-Tracking of Foxconn Plant

This week, State Representative Sheri Jesiel (R-Winthrop Harbor) filed House Resolution 1076. The resolution cautions the State of Wisconsin to not hastily allow Foxconn Technology Group to establish three new facilities on the Illinois-Wisconsin border without proper environmental and public health impact studies.

“I’m happy to see that a global technology manufacturer like Foxconn is going to setup shop in the Midwest and bring thousands of jobs with it,” said Jesiel. “I would be even happier if it was on our side of the Illinois-Wisconsin border, but it will undoubtedly still have a positive economic impact on both sides of the border. However, I am concerned that Wisconsin is putting the viability of our clean drinking water at risk by allowing Foxconn to bypass the normal permit and impact study process.”

In 2017, Foxconn and Wisconsin announced an agreement for a new manufacturing campus comprised of three facilities in Racine County. As part of the agreement, Foxconn is being provided substantial economic incentives to construct the $10 billion campus, including $3 billion in tax incentives that could rise to as high as $4.5 billion if certain employment objectives are met.

As Jesiel said, she is pleased to see North America’s first state-of-the-art display manufacturing campus come to the Midwest, but noted several concerns by fast-tracking impact studies without proper review. Foxconn is being permitted to fill 26 acres of wetlands with dredged materials without an environmental impact study or review by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. These wetlands flow into the Des Plaines River Watershed, which flows through Lake County and down into Cook County, providing clean water, flood water storage and preserving the ecological integrity of the watershed for hundreds of thousands of people in Northern Illinois and Wisconsin.

Foxconn is also seeking to use approximately 7 million gallons of water from Lake Michigan, a shared and primary drinking water resource for millions of people throughout Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan. As part of the Great Lakes Compact, this water is supposed to be used for a “Group of largely residential customers.” In addition, Foxconn is seeking a permit to emit nitrous oxide and other volatile organic particulate, which will impact air quality and clean drinking water. The Illinois Attorney General is challenging this with the U.S. EPA.

“Foxconn could receive upwards of $4 billion dollars for the construction of this new manufacturing campus, almost half the cost to build it,” said Jesiel. “So I feel it is reasonable that we ask them, and Wisconsin, to take the time necessary to ensure the construction of the campus and its operation do not harm our clean drinking water or damage the viability of a watershed that prevents severe flooding. The economic gains provided through the creation of new jobs will be meaningless if it leads to public health problems and severe flooding.”

For more information about House Resolution 1076, Click Here.

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