Monday, April 30, 2018

WI DNR is OK with other states reviewing the Foxconn diversion

Here's the important takeaway from Gary Wilson's fine reporting on the WI DNR's quick approval of a Lake Michigan water
diversion for Foxconn:
Wisconsin’s [DNR spokesman] James Dick told Great Lakes Now that a regional review of this diversion application was not a requirement but, “Wisconsin would of course cooperate with a regional review if it were undertaken” by the other states.
The diversion needed only Wisconsin's approval under rules established by the Great Lakes Compact of 2008.

However, as I'd noted last week, an optional "regional review" by all eight states of a diversion application is permitted under the Compact even if initially only one's state's approval is required, and since the Wisconsin's DNR spokesman  says the agency will cooperate with a regional review of the Foxconn plan, let's get that underway.

The diversion would be at odds with the Compact's direction that such transfers must serve a public purpose, while nearly all seven million diverted gallons daily would benefit one private-sector business, Foxconn.

And there are additional concerns about the substantial amount of diverted water that would consumed by Foxconn's production and not returned to Lake Michigan, as well as whether Lake Michigan and surrounding land and waters would be harmed by industrial-grade chemicals used in Foxconn's proprietary manufacturing processes should there be leaks or problems with onsite and/or local government wastewater treatment procedures.

Here is a link to the Compact; I draw your attention to p. 12, where the standards for a regional review of a diversion application approved by a single state are laid out - - it would take five states to make the request, which are long odds - - though a regional review looks to fit the Foxconn diversion perfectly:

Section 4.5. Regional Review.
1. General.
  1. It is the intention of the Parties to participate in Regional Review of Proposals
    with the Provinces, as described in this Compact and the Agreement.

  2. Unless the Applicant or the Originating Party otherwise requests, it shall be the
    goal of the Regional Body to conclude its review no later than 90 days after notice
    under Section 4.5.2 of such Proposal is received from the Originating Party.

  3. Proposals for Exceptions subject to Regional Review shall be submitted by the
    Originating Party to the Regional Body for Regional Review, and where
    applicable, to the Council for concurrent review.

  4. The Parties agree that the protection of the integrity of the Great Lakes – St.
    Lawrence River Basin Ecosystem shall be the overarching principle for reviewing Proposals subject to Regional Review, recognizing uncertainties with respect to demands that may be placed on Basin Water, including groundwater, levels and flows of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River, future changes in environmental conditions, the reliability of existing data and the extent to which Diversions may harm the integrity of the Basin Ecosystem.

  5. The Originating Party shall have lead responsibility for coordinating information for resolution of issues related to evaluation of a Proposal, and shall consult with the Applicant throughout the Regional Review Process.

  6. A majority of the members of the Regional Body may request Regional Review of a regionally significant or potentially precedent setting Proposal. Such Regional Review must be conducted, to the extent possible, within the time frames set forth in this Section. Any such Regional Review shall be undertaken only after consulting the Applicant.

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