Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters delivered a petition with 1,817 signatures to the Department of Natural Resources last week, calling for the agency to reject a plan to divert seven million gallons of water per day from the Great Lakes to the private company Foxconn.
The plan to raid Great Lakes water solely for manufacturing giant Foxconn represents an unprecedented betrayal of the core intent of the hard-won, bipartisan Great Lakes Compact of 2008. The diversion plan is being rushed along without the necessary information needed to make an informed decision. Foxconn has remained silent on how it will use the water in the manufacturing process and what contaminants might be in the water returned to the Great Lakes.
If approved, the plan would allow the City of Racine, which sits inside the Great Lakes basin, to divert seven million gallons of water per day to Mount Pleasant, a township that’s only partially in the basin, known as a straddling community.
The applicant should be Mount Pleasant. However, straddling communities require stronger requirements for water use under the Great Lakes Compact. This attempt to subvert the compact’s intended process is reason enough to reject the plan.
Under the compact, diversions are meant to provide water for uses such as municipal drinking water and groundwater replenishment for family wells. This is the first time a state in the compact has been so brazen as to suggest a diversion almost exclusively for a private company.
The petition encourages the DNR to reject the City of Racine’s diversion application, and asks that it not endanger the integrity of the Great Lakes Compact. Conservationists from across the state signed the petition.
“This diversion plan is a thinly veiled attempt to degrade the Great Lakes Compact, one of the finest conservation achievements in a generation,” said Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters Executive Director Kerry Schumann. “The hundreds of conservation voters who signed the petition understand the importance of the integrity and health of our Great Lakes. The DNR should reject this plan and any other plan that threatens our most vital freshwater resource.”