Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Urban Milwaukee: Foxconn construction argues vs. heavy, high-tech mfg.

More foundational problems for Foxconn.

Props to Bruce Murphy and Urban Milwaukee for this report:
More Doubts About Foxconn Project 
Compressed gravel base can’t support LCD fabrication plant. So what’s being built?
...when the LCD plant is built, according to Adam Jelen, senior vice president with Gilbane Building Co., Foxconn’s construction manager, it will be built on the many acres of flat, compressed gravel at the Mt. Pleasant site, as he told the mediaAnd you can’t build an LCD plant on such a base, as Willy Shih, Professor of Management Practice, Harvard Business School and an expert on the LCD industry, tells Urban Milwaukee.   
“A compressed gravel foundation might be fine for a normal industrial building, but it’s probably not an LCD Fab, which has to have a massive steel infrastructure to support a vibration-free environment for equipment that has to do ultra-precision (manufacturing),” Shih says. 
Wo we ask again, what are state and local taxpayers getting for the billions in  state and local subsidies pledged by Walker, his GOP legislative leaders, and goosed along by Trump and senior management at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Walker installed to implement his 'chamber of commerce mentality' direction?

The Urban Milwaukee report adds to my belief that the Foxconn project likely does not need either the large and controversial permission already granted by the DNR for a seven-million-gallon-per-day diversion of Lake Michigan water nor air pollution permits also granted by the agency to let the proposed facility emit 796 tons of pollutants annually.

Those air and water permissions, like the company's pledge to create 13,000 high-paying jobs averaging about $54,000 a year, were predicated on a Foxconn factory built to produce electronic devices with LCD screens made during water-dependent manufacturing processes and cut from large sheets of LCD glass which Foxconn has recently said it will not make on the Wisconsin site.

The company is now talking about completing a less expansive facility making electronic devices with smaller LCD screens.

Foxconn has bulldozed this rural Racine County acreage, but exactly exactly what will be manufactured or assembled there with massive public subsidies and Lake Michigan water continues to be unclear.
Note that Gov. Evers has said he wants the DNR to reconsider the four air pollution permits it granted to Foxconn last year - - basically all the permits were speedily granted by the DNR after the legislature exempted the site from an environmental impact statement analysis - - before Foxconn solidified its production intentions - - and water conservation advocates have already begun litigating the water diversion approval:
The public-interest law firm Midwest Environmental Advocates, (MEA), has filed with a Wisconsin administrative law a comprehensive and convincing brief that challenges the Wisconsin DNR's approval last year of a substantial diversion of Lake Michigan water to serve the Foxconn project.
You can find the brief and a history of the case on the MEA website, hereI'd recently noted a related filing by a Michigan conservation group, and I will post additional documents in the case as I get them.
I will add today's item to the Foxconn archive I have compiled since June, 2017.
This archive with more than 300 posts, and even more links and references that track, explains and unmasks Wisconsin's public awards of $4.5 billion in state and local funds, plus waivers of routine judicial and environmental reviews, for a promised now- cancelled perhaps back-on-again-but-smaller?? Foxconn factory development that would have required a massive daily diversion of Lake Michigan water and produced nearly 800 tons of air pollution emissions annually over Racine County open space, farm and wetlands.

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