DNR approves diversion of great lakes water for foxconn

Decision ignores spirit and intent of the Compact

On April 25th, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) hastily approved the City of Racine’s request for a diversion of Great Lakes water for a private entity, Foxconn.  While the request was pending before the DNR, the CIC, and many regional and Great Lakes state partners, requested that the Regional Body and Compact Council review the proposal because of several flaws including that the use of the water was not for a public purpose, but rather for a foreign corporation’s use.  The CIC feels it is unfortunate that DNR is ignoring not only the spirit, intent and plain language of the Great Lakes Compact, but also the voiced concerns of thousands of Wisconsin citizens. In light of this rushed decision, the CIC is reviewing the DNR’s responses to the public comments, which raised significant concerns, as well as looking at the Compact guidance to understand appropriate next steps. 

While a diversion was approved, Foxconn still needs to be held accountable for the quality of the water it puts back into the Great Lakes Basin and the CIC will continue to watchdog this issue and keep you informed. In addition, since many of the groups in the CIC focus on other environmental issues, like air quality, which can also impact water quality when particulates rain down into waterbodies and wash off land through stormwater, go to cleanwisconsin.org and midwestadvocates.org to learn more about these growing concerns. 

Stay Tuned!

The CIC will be keeping everyone up to date on any new developments and how to stay involved!

As the world’s largest freshwater ecosystem, the Great Lakes are a national treasure. They house 20 percent of all freshwater on the surface of the planet, provide drinking water to 40 million people, create habitat for 3,500 species of plants and animals, and support a $4 billion sports fishing industry. 

The Great Lakes Compact was created to protect the Great Lakes as a vital economic and cultural resource. Experts from all over the Great Lakes region have spent over 30 years working together to craft and ultimately ratify a good-faith agreement that serves to protect our Great Lakes for future generations. 

The City of Waukesha’s request to divert water outside of the Great Lakes basin was the first time the Great Lakes Compact was put to the test in how well it will protect our Great Lakes now and in the future.  Now, the City of Racine is applying for a diversion of water on behalf of Mount Pleasant for the Foxconn facility.  The Compact Implementation Coalition believes it’s vital Wisconsin make smart decisions in requests for exceptions to the ban on diverting water out of the basin and lead our region in protecting our Great Lakes. 


Jodi Habush Sinykin of Midwest Environmental Advocates says there are many unanswered questions about Foxconn's plan to draw water from Lake Michigan.