News Release: Lake County Board and Stormwater Management Commission Unanimously Oppose Weakening Pollution Standards for Foxconn Deal near WI/IL Border

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Lake County Banner / Standard

June 12, 2018

Lake County Board and Stormwater Management Commission Unanimously Oppose Weakening Pollution Standards for Foxconn Deal near WI/IL Border

WAUKEGAN – The Lake County Board voted unanimously Tuesday to oppose federal and State of Wisconsin decisions to reduce air pollution standards in five southeastern Wisconsin counties where Taiwan-based Foxconn plans to manufacture flat screen displays, citing special regulatory treatment and diversion of Lake Michigan water, as well as impacts to air quality, increased flooding, and other ecological impacts from this development.

The Taiwan-owned company, which is a major supplier to Apple Inc. for its iPhones, is planning on constructing a large manufacturing facility in Mount Pleasant in Racine County. The State of Wisconsin passed legislation waiving environmental regulations for Foxconn and approved various incentives.

The resolution passed by the Lake County Board is not just limited to waivers or exemptions of environmental regulations for the Foxconn development.  The Board’s action includes any upstream development located in southeast Wisconsin that flows into Lake County Watersheds.

The County Board and Stormwater Management Commission resolutions cite the potential for legal action by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who has already threatened to sue over the inequitable, irreparable harm the U.S. EPA’s recent decision may have on Lake County residents.

 “The Lake County Board is unanimous in our strong opposition to U.S. EPA and State of Wisconsin actions creating a separate set of pollution standards for Foxconn’s five county area, which will compromise the environmental integrity and resiliency of natural resources to the detriment of Lake County families, businesses and taxpayers,” Chairman Aaron Lawlor said.  “The proposal calls for filling of 26 acres of wetlands with dredged materials.  I don’t need a big, expensive study to know that is a very bad idea and we need the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers involved immediately.”

The Lake County Stormwater Management Commission (SMC) adopted a resolution on June 7 calling for proper environmental mitigation for the Foxconn development. SMC Chairman and Lake County Board Member Craig Taylor said, “The planned development for Foxconn and the adjacent development corridor is in the headwaters of the Des Plaines River Watershed, which is immediately upstream of us and encompasses a major source of surface water. As recently as July 2017, this watershed contributed to catastrophic and record-breaking flood heights within Lake County.  We are calling to those upstream to provide essential mitigation for development impacts that would increase flooding potential for Lake County and it is imperative that mitigation be planned, designed and enforced within this watershed.”

Lake County and SMC will work together to take aggressive steps to meet with its counterparts in local, state and federal agencies that maintain jurisdiction over the Foxconn development to discuss the actions and corresponding impacts on Lake County.

Meanwhile, environmental and voter organizations have also challenged the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource’s approval for Foxconn to use Lake Michigan water for its Mount Pleasant manufacturing plant.


Jennie Vana
Chief Communications Officer
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Phone Number: 847-377-2154