Conservation group expresses concern on Foxconn incentives package

Gov. Walker signs MOU with Foxconn in Milwaukee, July 27, 2017. (WLUK/ Andy Harbath)

GREEN BAY (WLUK) ---Without an announced site for the proposed 20-million square foot Foxconn facility, DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp said Foxconn won't harm the environment.

"We're going to of course be evaluating the environmental impacts of each individual permit that will be required," Stepp explained to the DNR board Thursday in Milwaukee.

Under a proposed $3 billion incentives package, state agencies wouldn't have to prepare an environmental impact statement on: a plant, construction, or operations.

Foxconn also wouldn't need to obtain state permits for filling wetlands or building on lake or river beds. The DNR explained the process is being streamlined.

"So it's really about moving at the speed of business without sacrificing environmental protections and we absolutely think we can do it," Stepp told reporters in Milwaukee.

However, conservation groups say it could lead to the destruction of Wetlands.

The River Alliance of Wisconsin says it's biggest concern is the lack of an environmental impact statement.

"The Governor and the legislature have made it very clear that they'd like to eliminate environmental protections on economic development projects across the state," executive director Raj Shukla told FOX 11.

Stepp explained under the incentives bill Foxconn would have to restore two acres of wetland for every acre lost.

"Any impact on wetlands would have to be properly mitigated and in fact the proposed legislation is calling for more mitigation to be done on this particular project than what's been done before," she said.

Shukla said there are environmental guidelines in place for a reason.

"Do we want to go back to a period of time when the Fox River was as polluted as it use to be I don't think so," he said.

Stepp added because a site for Foxconn hasn't been announced it is unclear what permits would be needed.

An Assembly committee vote on the incentives package is set for next week, with the full Assembly voting on the bill a few days later.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said Thursday, he isn't sure if the Senate has the votes to pass the incentives package.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off