Sunday, March 18, 2018

Foxconn deadlines and reminders

Things you should know about Foxconn's push for a massive daily diversion of Lake Michigan water
that arguably undermines the conservation goals of an historic eight-state, two-nation Great Lakes Compact:
Jodi Habush Sinykin, an attorney for Midwest Environmental Advocates, said the Great Lakes Compact bans diversions outside the Great Lakes basin unless they meet narrowly defined exceptions. She cited section 4.9.1 of the compact that states “all the water so transferred shall be used solely for public water supply purposes within the straddling community.”
The compact further defines “public water supply” as serving “largely residential customers that may also serve industrial, commercial and other institutional operators,” Sinykin said.
“Rather, the complete opposite is true,” she said. “Racine will use the majority, if not the entirety, of the diverted Great Lakes water to serve the industrial needs of a single, private, foreign industrial entity – Foxconn.”
1. There is a 3/21 deadline for comments to the Wisconsin DNR on the proposed diversion of seven millions gallons daily of Lake Michigan water to serve the Foxconn project. The DNR has sole authority under the Great Lakes Compact to approve this proposed diversion. 

Here's the comment procedure:

Hard copy comments can be sent to:
DNR Drinking Water and Groundwater Program DG/5
Attn: Adam Freihoefer
PO Box 7921
Madison WI 53707-7921

2. Here is one comprehensive posting with 152 separate items in a Foxconn archive for your review that goes back to day one.

3. The diversion would be the Wisconsin's fifth, and the state's approach to Great Lakes management has been, shall we say, arrogant and slippery.

4. Not surprisingly, the deck is stacked in favor of the diversion, so building a solid and informed record of opposition is important.

Walker has systematically weakened and debased the DNR, kept it under his continually expanding pro-business ideological control and has moved a key member of his staff who had also served as the Waller-appointed and former corporate-friendly DNR Deputy Secretary into a new position as state liaison to the project:
Matt Moroney, the former WI DNR Deputy Secretary whom Walker has  promoted to state point person on the Foxconn project, is a former developer association director who opposed the Great Lakes Compact because it would impede economic activity in Wisconsin, as he had written when the Compact was headed for legislative approval:
...the compact is far too limiting on Wisconsin residents, usurps state autonomy to accomplish Wisconsin objectives...if the water cannot be utilized for economic growth, being located next to the Great Lakes will put Wisconsin at an economic disadvantage.
I have been following Moroney and the DNR for many years, including this 2012 post:
Senior DNR Official Opposed Great Lakes Compact As Approved
Water for growth in Waukesha County has a champion high up in the DNR.
Matt Moroney, an attorney and former SE Wisconsin home builders' executive, is a Scott Walker appointee to the powerful post of Deputy Secretary of the DNR.
His is not a household name, though Moroney helped write the original Assembly mining bill prior to its defeat, popped up in the story about the DNR having decided against referring to the State Justice Department an egregious case of human waste spreading on Jefferson County land near residential wells and helped explain the drop in DNR enforcement actions against polluters...
As a member of a Legislative Study Committee, Moroney raised numerous objections, including claims that the Compact could usurp local control, restrict economic growth, and place burdens and limitations on "straddling counties" - - the very category created by Compact drafters to help a city like Waukesha gain eligibility to apply for a diversion of water outside of the Great Lakes basin...
I will repost below what I wrote in December, 2010 about this matter. 

New DNR Deputy Secretary Wanted A Weaker Great Lakes Compact

Below are the formal comments submitted in 2006 to a special legislative study committee by Matt Moroney, then Executive Director of the Metropolitan Builders Association and now Scott Walker's nominee as Deputy Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources.
Moroney's efforts to water down the Compact and to remake what is basically a water management and conservation agreement into more of an economic development document were not successful - - State Sen. Mary Lazich, (R-New Berlin), led a failed state's rights campaign against the Compact. 
Wrote Moroney:
"The homebuilding industry does not believe the case has been made that it is necessary to manage the quantity of water being utilized from the Great Lakes to the extent that the compact does at this time. The compact is far too limiting in its standards and approval process for water use by straddling counties. Mr. Dahl, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, indicated in his presentation that the Army Corps does not even factor into its forecasting of lake levels the municipal use and other “minor” diversions. Such impacts are so trivial to other factors like evaporation and temperature. As a result, it is our belief that a little more flexibility for water diversions in states that border the Great Lakes is desirable for continued economic growth."
Now Moroney, an attorney, is in a key position to influence all state environmental policy, including how the Compact is implemented in Wisconsin, and especially as Waukesha's stalled and incomplete application for the Compact's first out-of-basin diversion moves through the DNR and perhaps to the other seven Great Lakes states for a mandatory regional review.
Looks like those who lost the fight against the Compact are in the driver's seat now. 

No comments: