Shankland Memo: Walker administration continues to mislead on Foxconn’s environmental impact

MADISON – Today Rep. Katrina Shankland (D-Stevens Point) released a memo from the nonpartisan Wisconsin Legislative Council which provides an overview of the environmental permitting provisions and exemptions in 2017 Wisconsin Act 58, also known as Foxconn legislation.

While the Walker administration continues to claim that Foxconn is subject to all of the same permitting processes as other businesses and will not have a harmful effect on Wisconsin’s cherished natural resources, the memo shows that Foxconn is in fact exempt from a number of requirements intended to protect the environment, since it’s within a designated electronics and information technology manufacturing zone (“EITM zone”).

The memo explains that there is no required environmental assessment to determine the project’s effects, and Foxconn is not required to obtain permits for any construction, access, or operation of facilities in navigable bodies of water. Foxconn can change the course of a stream or discharge into a wetland without a permit under certain circumstances, and they are also exempt from a requirement related to the Great Lakes Compact.

Rep. Shankland released the following statement in response:

“Governor Walker and his administration have repeatedly claimed that Foxconn will be required to follow the same regulations as all other businesses. What they fail to mention is they changed the law just for Foxconn. This memo tells us the real story.

“At the end of the day, we won’t know what Foxconn’s impact on the environment will be until it’s too late. This goes to show what the Walker administration is willing to risk in the name of a foreign corporation. They have gambled with communities across our state’s access to clean air and water before, and now they are doing it again. We’ve been asked to put a lot of trust in this project, but with billions of dollars at stake, Wisconsin taxpayers deserve the truth, and the truth is that our natural resources need protection. Foreign companies do not.”