Environmental, Lee Stedman

Community or Con: The Foxconn Manufacturing Crisis

Since being contracted in 2017 to receive more than $4 billion in incentive packages from the state of Wisconsin, Foxconn, a global LCD manufacturing giant, has garnered a great deal of local and national notoriety due to concerns over its potential environmental, economic and political impacts.

Over the last several months, skepticism over the original deal’s promises has continued to grow amidst a series of recent—and controversial—updates on the project, located in Mt. Pleasant, WI just off the I-94:

  • On April 17th Foxconn CEO, Terry Gou, announced that he would be stepping down from his position in Foxconn in order to focus on a recently announced campaign bid for Presidency of Taiwan. [1] Gou took part in the original negotiations of the deal alongside President Donald Trump and Gov. Scott Walker. [2]
  • Land seizures implemented to drive the creation of Wisconn Valley have left hundreds of acres of farmland cleared and more than 70 homes removed. Of the original residents, only homeowners, Kim and Jim Mahoney, and an unnamed farmer remain. [2]
  • Newly released emails acquired by the non-profits, Sierra Club and Clean Wisconsin, illustrate concern and opposition between top EPA scientists over a 2018 decision made by former EPA head, Scott Pruitt, to lessen and waive federal smog regulations. The decision has thus-far saved Foxconn and several other companies millions in pollution-control requirements. [3] [4]
  • On June 10th, a Wisconsin state administrative judge ruled in favor of the City of Racine’s request to divert millions of gallons of water from Lake Michigan for Foxconn’s manufacturing processes and other unspecified residential uses. The original request was challenged on behalf of several environmental groups by the Midwest Environmental Advocates. [5]

Despite growing fear in Foxconn’s current construction plans and leadership, many residents in Racine County remain hopeful in the promise to create 13,000 Wisconsin-based jobs.

Written for Intellegere Project by: Lee Stedman


[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/17/world/asia/terry-gou-foxcon-taiwan-presidential-race.html

[2] https://www.wsj.com/articles/foxconn-tore-up-a-small-town-to-build-a-big-factorythen-retreated-11556557652

[3] https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/24/climate/epa-pruitt-wisconsin-foxconn.html

[4] https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/breaking/ct-met-foxconn-indiana-smog-trump-epa-20190516-story.html

[5] https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/2019/06/10/judge-rules-favor-racines-bid-provide-water-foxconn/1414171001/

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