Lincolnshire officials also worried about new Wisconsin plant

  • Part of Lincolnshire Drive was under several feet of water after heavy rains caused the nearby Des Plaines River to flood in July 2017. Village officials are concerned a plan to waive environmental restrictions for a factory in Wisconsin could worsen flooding here.

      Part of Lincolnshire Drive was under several feet of water after heavy rains caused the nearby Des Plaines River to flood in July 2017. Village officials are concerned a plan to waive environmental restrictions for a factory in Wisconsin could worsen flooding here. Russell Lissau | Staff Photographer, 2017

 
 
Updated 6/26/2018 3:12 PM
Editor's note: To clarify this story, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers looked at the wetlands issue and determined it doesn’t have jurisdiction.

Lincolnshire officials are set to join the growing force against Wisconsin's controversial plan to waive environmental restrictions for a forthcoming Foxconn manufacturing plant just across the Illinois border.

Village officials are finalizing a resolution urging Wisconsin lawmakers to reconsider exempting the Taiwan-based electronics giant from some ecological regulations. They hope enforcement of the rules will prevent worsened flooding along the Des Plaines River downstream in Lincolnshire and elsewhere in Illinois.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Trustees discussed the proposed resolution Monday during a committee-of-the-whole meeting.

Five of the board's six trustees informally supported the resolution. While noting that it's only advisory, proponents on the board said the resolution makes an important statement.

"It's taking a stand," Trustee Jule Harms Muth said.

Trustee Tom McDonough was the lone opponent of the resolution, calling it "a waste of time."

"I'm not interested in a resolution that's nonbinding and has no standing," McDonough said.

A formal vote is expected July 9.

The Foxconn site is in Mount Pleasant, about 20 miles north of the Illinois border. The company was spared from some federal and state environmental requirements as part of a $3 billion incentive package promised by Wisconsin legislators last year.

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For example, Foxconn is being allowed to fill 26 acres of wetlands without first conducting an environmental impact study.

Those wetlands flow into the Des Plaines River watershed.

Lincolnshire and Gurnee are among the Illinois towns that experience floods from the river following heavy rains and snow melts. Filling in those wetlands without replacing them nearby could increase flooding, officials have said.

An environmental study for a project like this is "common sense," Muth said.

Critics also say the factory's emissions could hurt air quality. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has pledged to challenge the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ruling allowing those emissions.

The Gurnee and Lake County boards already have passed resolutions denouncing the Foxconn deal -- a pact trumpeted by President Donald Trump and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. The Lake County Stormwater Management Commission condemned the plan, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Foxconn is the world's biggest contract manufacturer of smartphones, computers and other technology products.

The proposed $10 billion plant will be the company's first in the U.S. It is expected to have 13,000 employees making liquid crystal display panels for computers, TVs and self-driving cars.

A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for this week.

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