MADISON — Foxconn, the world's largest electronics contract manufacturer, is investing $10 billion and creating 13,000 good-paying, family-supporting jobs in Wisconsin. This is the largest corporate attraction project in U.S. history as measured by jobs. To separate myth from fact, Governor Scott Walker’s office released the following information about Foxconn’s historic investment and Wisconsin’s environment:
Myth vs. Fact: Foxconn and Wisconsin’s Environment
Myth: Foxconn is exempt from environmental regulations—False.
Fact: Foxconn is required to follow the same regulations as every other business including air permitting, stormwater control, hazardous waste, wastewater regulation, and Great Lakes water use regulations and other environmental regulations as every other project in the state.
Myth: Foxconn will contribute significantly to air pollution in southeastern Wisconsin—False.
Fact: Foxconn is not exempt from any state or federal Clean Air Act requirements and to date has obtained several air permits. The company also plans to use state-of-the-art technology to control and minimize air emissions.
In addition, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) found that Foxconn’s contribution is not going to be a significant contributor to air quality issues in the region. Most of the pollution causing ozone in Wisconsin comes from other states. Wisconsin has already cut emissions of the two main ozone-forming compounds—nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds—by 50% between 2002 and 2014. Based on the emission rates allowed in Foxconn’s air permits, the DNR estimates the highest possible relative increase in Racine County emissions to be less than 4% as a result of the Foxconn development, and the emissions would be just 0.07% of the nitrogen oxides and 0.1% of the volatile organic compounds emitted within the 3-state Chicago metro area.
Myth: Racine’s water diversion for Foxconn will drain Lake Michigan with the proposed average daily use of 7 million gallons. —False.
Fact: Foxconn is investing $30 million in zero liquid discharge (ZLD) technology for its facility, which will dramatically reduce its Lake Michigan water intake by 3.5 million gallons per day from initial estimates of up to 5.8 million gallons per day. This technology will also virtually eliminate the discharge of manufacturing process wastewater. This withdrawal would still put the Racine water utility under its existing withdrawal capacity and below its 1995 average day water sales.
Myth: Foxconn is filling wetlands without any mitigation or regulatory oversight—False.
Fact: Foxconn is required to mitigate wetlands at a higher ratio than other companies in the state. For every acre of wetland filled, Foxconn must restore two acres of wetlands. That is more than the 1.2 to 1 acre ratio at which other companies are normally required to mitigate. The company has also paid more than $2 million into the Wisconsin Wetlands Conservation Trust In Lieu Fee program which meets its mitigation obligation. The federal Army Corps of Engineers maintains regulatory oversight of all federal wetlands.
Myth: Foxconn will create downstream flooding in Kenosha County and Northern Illinois—False.
Fact: A study from the non-partisan Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC) found that the Village of Mount Pleasant stormwater ordinance is sufficient to address increase runoff rates and volumes within the Des Plaines River watershed with no anticipated increase in downstream flood flows.