Wisconsin’s Foxconn Approved to Remove 7 Million Gallons of Water Daily from Lake Michigan

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A Wisconsin city has received approval to remove 7 million gallons of water from Lake Michigan each day, MLive reports.

On April 25, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced that the city of Racine, 27 miles south of Milwaukee, is now permitted to take water from Lake Michigan in order to serve its customers. One of these customers will be a new Foxconn manufacturing plant. Foxconn plans to begin its construction of this $10-billion flat-screen plant in Mount Pleasant only weeks after the Wisconsin DNR approved Racine’s water withdrawal request, reports Fox News.

The city’s application estimated that 2.7 gallons will be consumed each day by the new Foxconn plant, while the rest of the water will be treated and returned to Lake Michigan.

The application’s conservationist opposition argued that Foxconn has a poor track record in terms of their environmental impact at their locations in China and Japan. Another argument proposed by those opposed suggests that pulling water from the lake will violate a requirement within the Great Lakes Compact stating that these types of water withdrawals be used only for public use, according to Fox.

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Nearby residents have also expressed their displeasure. “The land that was taken from the owners was taken under the eminent domain federal law, for the ‘common good,’ not for a private company.

“Millions of gallons of fresh water will be drawn daily, and unlawfully from Lake Michigan to be used in the Foxconn facility, some of which will be returned to the lake, polluted,” Royse Myers of Caledonia contributed to The Journal Times.

The DNR claims that they chose to draw more water from the lake in order to extend their water service to more customers. The DNR said Racine’s public water system will continue to serve a largely residential customer base, stating that the decision was made for “public water supply purposes,” according to MLive.

The DNR provided another perspective on its decision during a news release, says MLive. Racine’s withdrawal of 7 million gallons per day will result in a 0.07% increase in the amount of surface water removed from Lake Michigan, according to the Great Lakes Commission. The Racine water utility will still be under its withdrawal capacity.

Wisconsin’s DNR officials made the decision to allow Racine to withdraw the Great Lake’s water after considering more than 800 public comments.