Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Strong Wash Post op-ed vs. Great Lakes diversion for Foxconn

Foxconn's grasp for Lake Michigan water at the expense of the Great Lakes and a US-Canadian Compact designed to conserve those waters is getting some much needed national attention.

I was really happy to see this piece in The Washington Post:
Why should Wisconsin drain Lake Michigan for Foxconn?
Especially on this point which only scratches the surface:
This is not the first time that Wisconsin has sidestepped the compact. As Peter Annin reveals in the new edition of “The Great Lakes Water Wars,” it tripled the share of water allocated to the village of Pleasant Prairie in 2010 — an apparent attempt to entice development to the Interstate 94 corridor.
As a good-faith partner to the seven other states, two provinces and tribal communities that border the Great Lakes, Wisconsin should stop making broad exceptions to our water protections.  
Wisconsin's repetitive willingness to divert Lake Michigan Water 
Lake Michigan 
needs to be restrained by the other Great Lakes states, Canadian provinces and tribal nations because Wisconsin has shown it will not abide by the language and spirit of the Great Lakes Compact, and will not police itself, as I noted in March:
Foxconn diversion would be #5 for environmental outlier Wisconsin
[Updated from 3/11/17 and 3/12/18] Before Foxconn, there was Waukesha, New Berlin, Menomonee Falls and Pleasant Prairie.
I'm adding to this posting a key insight from the Midwest Environmental Advocates' challenge to the Racine/Foxconn diversion - - the full text is here - - that one diversion can lead to an another and another, thus upending the Great Lakes Compact's goal of limited water diversions and overall water conservation...
From the MEA brief:
The overarching framework of the Great Lakes Compact prohibits diversions from the basin with very limited and strictly regulated exceptions to serve communities along the basin boundary.  
The Racine diversion violates the Compact and Wisconsin’s implementing legislation because the water diverted outside of the basin will not serve “largely residential customers.”   
In fact, none of the water diverted outside of the basin will go to residential customers. As a result, the Racine diversion does not meet the public water supply purposes requirement in the straddling community exception...  
Thus, DNR’s approval of the Racine diversion establishes a misguided and dangerous precedent with far-reaching implications for the Great Lakes region. 
This precedent opens the door to diversions throughout the Great Lakes basin—to any customer and for any purpose—as long as the in-basin community supplying and receiving back the returned water does so through a public water system.   
Respondents’ blatant misinterpretation of the public water supply purposes requirement will lead to comparable attempts by other municipalities to advance diversions that serve purposes entirely unrelated to “largely residential customers.”  
It follows that in-basin communities and their public water supply systems could serve as ready conduits to any number of water-intensive industries, mining operations, or power plants located outside the basin. 
I will add this posting to an archive on the Foxconn project which I have updated since June 2017:
This archive with more than 340 posts - - and even more links and references - - tracks, explains and unmasks Wisconsin's public awards of $4.5 billion in state and local funds to Taiwan-based Foxconn.  
Call it a Scott Walker - - and failed campaign manuever - - production.
From NBC Nightly News, 7/21/19
The archive also documents waivers of what been routine judicial and environmental reviews for a promised now- cancelled perhaps back-on-again-but-smaller?? Foxconn factory development that is still in line to receive a massive daily diversion of Lake Michigan water.

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