Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Pollution favor for Foxconn, others not justifiable, feds say

Today's subject is blight. And who uses it to spoil the natural and political environment. And why.

Remember the phony "blight" assigned Mount Pleasant properties in the Foxconn zone so they could be quickly acquired and torn down?

We're learning anew that real blight took root in government actions which included unscientific and unjustifiable air pollution exemptions 
Smoke stacks from a factory.

which would add to the airborne river of lung-damaging filth in a region already polluted by politicized contaminants, like partisan arrogance, reckless spending and Soviet-style, government-first land grabbing.

The Chicago Tribune lays it out:
Trump EPA backs away from smog breaks for Foxconn, Indiana steel mills
When the Trump administration exempted parts of the Chicago area last year from federal limits on lung-damaging smog, it delivered a huge financial break to steel mills, chemical plants and other industries that are some of the region’s biggest polluters.
Scott Pruitt, who at the time headed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, also freed the Foxconn Technology Group from spending millions of dollars on pollution-control equipment as it builds a new electronics plant in southeast Wisconsin, just north of the Illinois border in an area with some of the region’s dirtiest air. 
Exposed in court, Federal attorneys are conceding that Trump's EPA under dedicated EPA mission destroyer Scott Pruitt knowing eased air pollution standards so certain Chicagoland counties close to Lake Michigan and north to the Foxconn site could save money while adding smog to already unhealthy air.

That the now-departed Pruitt - - done in by scandalously wasteful and inappropriate spending and staff assignments - - had included the Foxconn site in his regulatory rollback as a favor to fellow Republican Scott Walker had been reported, but now the Trib and others have published information sprung loose from the EPA by document requests showing scientists there knew data and policies were being dirtied up.

As one scientist said in a document provided to The New York Times:
“I do not see a sound technical basis for the areas we are being directed to finalize in Wisconsin,” Jennifer Liljegren, an E.P.A. physical scientist involved in the decision-making, wrote to colleagues in an email dated April 11, 2018. “I will need the wordsmithing of the legal and policy experts if we are really going to do this — I am still in disbelief.”
Props to Clean Wisconsin, along with the Sierra Club for provoking the disclosures, as Twitter tells us:
Emails released Friday to and show that EPA scientists raised strong objections to a 2018 decision by Scott Pruitt, who was head of the agency at the time, to exempt most of southeastern Wisconsin from federal limits on smog.
These disclosures should give Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers' DNR more reason to suspend the four air pollution permits Walker's DNR had so quickly granted to the company.

I've been compiling a Foxconn archive on this blog for two years: this link will take you to it.

And speaking of blight, big money and bad process all 'round...

The quarter-billion sprawl-inducing highway expansion through the Foxconn zone - - where some of the region's best farmland along with flood-abating wetlands are being bulldozed and paved - - is a miles-long concrete blot which will generate its own air pollution tonnages.

And 'was won' by Walker for Foxconn and his fellow, GOP power-grabbing local politician Robin Vos while state roads and bridges were allowed to deteriorate.

That grotesque gift of pavement to special interests - - again at public expense - - is technically not an actual highway to nowhere since Chicago commuters can enjoy it toll-free when they cross the state line, but the highway 'upgrade' adds to the unprecedented waste, hackery and failure which has put Foxconn on the map in Wisconsin.

Final thought.

Walker 2020. Seriously? Wasn't eight years long enough?

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