MOUNT PLEASANT — Foxconn Technology Group announced Wednesday that the state Department of Natural Resources approved the City of Racine’s water diversion application, which was made in part to support the $10 billion Foxconn project in Mount Pleasant.
The city applied to the DNR for a straddling community diversion, and the agency approved the city’s request to divert up to an average of 7 million gallons of water per day to the Village of Mount Pleasant. The diversion area includes part of the future site of the Foxconn facility.
Top government and economic development officials hailed the approval as a boon to the region’s ability to develop economically.
Mount Pleasant Village President Dave DeGroot said: “The diversion request approved today is something the Village of Mount Pleasant has been considering for years as we have explored ways to support broader I-94 corridor development, creating even more Racine County jobs, patrons and residents.
“We will now be able to provide clean, reliable, safe water to the businesses that will locate to this area, and the thousands of workers they will employ,” DeGroot said.
Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave said: “From day one, county leadership has been careful and thoughtful in our approach to capitalizing on a major investment from Foxconn. We have worked hard to maximize benefits for Racine County residents and taxpayers, while also protecting the fabric of our community — including our natural resources.
“The approved water diversion to the Village of Mount Pleasant will strengthen our community, lead to greater opportunities for economic development and will do so in a responsible, environmentally accountable way,” Delagrave concluded.
Protecting Lake Michigan
The water diversion application proved controversial, with some critics saying they worried about how the diversion would affect the lake. Officials stated Wednesday that they believe Lake Michigan will be protected as Foxconn draws water for its campus.
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“Today’s approval benefits the entire region,” said Jenny Trick, executive director of Racine County Economic Development Corp. “The diversion of Lake Michigan water, as governed by the Great Lakes Compact, will not only support Foxconn and broader I-94 corridor development, it will ensure our area’s greatest natural resource is protected.”
“Lake Michigan is Racine County’s greatest asset, and I am committed to protecting it and treating it with care,” said Keith Haas, general manager of Racine Water and Wastewater Utilities. “When regulated and monitored, the use of Lake Michigan water benefits our entire community and provides the opportunity for job-creating development.”
Racine Mayor Cory Mason said: “As a former legislator who worked hard to pass the Great Lakes Compact, I believe the diversion application meets the standards for a straddling community diversion … protecting Lake Michigan will continue to be one of the highest priorities for the city.”
Foxconn promised that environmental protection will be an important matter with its future science and technology park in southwestern Mount Pleasant, which is expected to employ up to 13,000 people eventually.
The company stated: “We take a systematic approach towards integrating green and sustainable practices into our global operations. This is the approach and philosophy that we will bring to our Wisconsin operations, and it includes reducing water consumption, optimizing water usage and actively promoting the reuse of wastewater and the use of reclaimed water in our manufacturing processes and for daily consumption in our operations.
“Additionally, we also will invest in leading technologies for waste treatment and disposal in compliance with environmental laws and regulations.”
“Today’s approval benefits the entire region.” Jenny Trick, executive director of Racine County Economic Development Corp.