Thursday’s revelation from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources that the massive Foxconn complex planned for Mount Pleasant would emit more toxic substances than most other manufacturing plants in the eastern part of the state wasn’t a big surprise.
Given the sizeof the complex, which will employ up to 13,000 people, one would logically conclude that it would produce more product than any other plant in the region and, therefore, more toxic substances. There’s nothing that matches it in size.
The state’s air-management staff employees said Foxconn would increase pollutants by about 4 percent, adding that officials concluded such an increase was manageable.
The DNR has given preliminary approval for four Foxconn air-pollution-control permits and is collecting public comment before making a final decision next month.
Additionally, by all accounts, Foxconn and officials in Racine County are working together to ensure the company complies with new ozone regulations established under President Barack Obama.
They are hoping to catch a break. The state is seeking permission from the Trump administration for a waiver on the stricter limitations. Gov. Scott Walker says much of the ozone pollution is from Illinois.
We suspect the Trump administration will grant that waiver. It should. In fact, Gail Good, DNR air management director, said she doesn’t believe Foxconn or Racine County will be subject to the stricter limits.
Foxconn’s investment in the region is destined to make a difference in a lot of ways. It exceeds anything that came before it and will make a huge contribution to southeastern Wisconsin’s economy for decades.
The Taiwan-based company plans to break ground on the $10 billion complex within the next two months and have it operating some time in the fourth quarter of 2019. The 13,000 employees will manufacture liquid-crystal-display panels.
Its presence will create new business opportunities for firms that will probably move here to do business with Foxconn. That means there will be more jobs than merely those on the Foxconn payroll.
Estimates from the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce suggest the company would add about $3.1 billion to the state’s gross domestic product annually. That would be equal about 1 percent to the state GDP of about $313 billion, according to the association analysis.
Few places in the country have experience with a project of this scope. You can’t blame officials in other places if they’re envious. And, by all accounts, government officials and Foxconn are working through the necessary regulatory matters as they should.
It is, after all, a work in progress, the likes of which is beyond comparison.
– Kenosha News