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Foxconn's plan to draw water from Lake Michigan gets criticism, support

MOUNT PLEASANT, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Dozens spoke out against a water diversion application for the future Foxconn Technology Group facility in Mount Pleasant.

Hundreds came to Wednesday’s public hearing at the SC Johnson iMET Center to voice their opinions to Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources staff. The biggest question for many is if Foxconn should be able to tap into Lake Michigan and what the impact would be if that happens. While many spoke out against the application, some supported it.

“The time is right to see how we can provide clean and safe water to businesses located in the area along with the thousands of workers they employ,” one person said.

The City of Racine’s application is asking for 7 million gallons of water a day for the Foxconn facility in Mount Pleasant. Some of the water will be treated and returned to Lake Michigan, but 2.7 million gallons of the water won’t be returned because it will either be evaporated or incorporated in a product.

The application must meet certain requirements through the Great Lakes Compact for a diversion. Many people in Wednesday’s meeting are concerned with pollution to Lake Michigan.

“We don't know what kind of toxic chemicals might be going out with the wastewater and if they can be cleaned sufficiently,” another speaker said.

Others are hoping for more transparency from Foxconn.

“Hopefully deny the request due to the lack of public transparency provided by Foxconn and what type of chemicals are being used,” a speaker said.

Foxconn must submit a pretreatment application on how it plans to treat the water. The Department of Natural Resources said Foxconn will have to pass an annual toxicity test.

The public will have to chance to voice their opinions until March 21. You can send an email to DNRRacineDiversionComments@wisconsin.gov

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