Thursday, April 18, 2019

Four questions of cost and liability hang over Foxconn project

There are bigger questions raised by the Foxconn project than what devices the company may build on disappearing farmland in Mt. Pleasant and how many human workers will eventually he hired in subsidized production there.
Foxconn has clearly signaled it is downsizing its Wisconsin operation, and despite Republican caterwauling about it that is partisan, not fact-based, Gov. Evers is correctly looking to negotiate parallel changes to the original state subsidy deal.

I'd add these related questions that demand fresh consideration:

* 1. How can local officials continue to stand by their separate massive commitments and expenditures for Foxconn to which they have committed taxpayers  -  commitments and expenditures which have increased substantially to more than $900 million even as Foxconn has announced reductions in the footprint and purposes of the development?

* 2. By the same token, how can the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources not revisit the seven million daily diversion of Lake Michigan water it approved for the project - - a decision based on a scale and method of water-dependent LCD flat-screen production which Foxconn now says it will not implement at the Wisconsin site:
Just to give an approximation for the purposes of visualization: A gallon of water weighs 8.36 pounds and a typical semi-tanker can hold about 6000 gallons of water legal weight for transport. 
So after doing the math for 7 million gallons per day that would mean the equivalent of looking at over 1,100 semi tankers of water. Of course they're not trucking it but it gives you an idea to visualize the magnitude. Every day. 
A legal case brought against that diversion is now before a Wisconsin Administrative Law Judge.

* 3. Similarly, the DNR hurriedly granted Foxconn four permits to emit massive amounts of air pollution tied that type of LCD-flat screen production which the company has said it will not employ at the Mt. Pleasant project. 

 Gov. Evers has said that should happen; when will those DNR air emission permits be reviewed;.

* 4. And could the Foxconn project produce legal and financial liabilities for state and local governments - - therefore state and local taxpayers - - should air pollution, site runoff and flooding from the Foxconn development, especially through state-granted, Foxconn-only wetland-filling freedoms, move downstream into Illinois watersheds and communities, as Illinois officials fear  and even taken initial legal steps to prevent?

A summary post about many of those issues is here.

And a complete archive on this blog of more than 300 Foxconn items since the project took shape is here.

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