Foxconn secured permission to withdraw more than 7 million gallons a day from Lake Michigan

“Great Lakes states are so zealous about guarding their increasingly valuable natural resource from thirsty outsiders that all eight of the region’s governors had to sign off before an inland Wisconsin city was allowed to siphon water out of Lake Michigan,” Michael Hawthorne reports for The Chicago Tribune. “Less than a year after Waukesha secured permission to withdraw more than 7 million gallons a day from the lake, Taiwan-based Foxconn Technology Group could end up winning access to a similar amount of fresh water for its new Wisconsin factory with merely a stroke of a pen from Gov. Scott Walker, the company’s chief political sponsor.”

“Foxconn’s bid for Lake Michigan water is the latest test of the decade-old Great Lakes Compact, an agreement among the region’s states intended to make it almost impossible to direct water outside the natural basin of the Great Lakes unless it is added to certain products, such as beer and soft drinks,” Hawthorne reports. “At issue with both Waukesha and Foxconn is an exemption that allows limited diversions outside the basin for ‘a group of largely residential customers that may also serve industrial, commercial, and other institutional operators.'”

“Waukesha, a city of 70,000 west of Milwaukee, lies fully outside the basin but is within a county that straddles the meandering subcontinental divide that separates areas of the Midwest that drain into the Great Lakes from those where water flows toward the Mississippi River. Foxconn’s plant would be built on top of the divide,” Hawthorne reports. “Lawyers, activists and politicians who drafted the compact are split on whether Foxconn’s bid violates the spirit, if not the actual language, of the agreement, which they hammered out in 2008 after an Ontario firm unveiled plans to ship 158 million gallons a year from Lake Superior to Asia.”

“Cameron Davis, who served as Great Lakes czar for former President Barack Obama, noted the amount of Lake Michigan water that would be diverted for Foxconn is tiny when compared with the volume of the lake,” Hawthorne reports. “The bigger question about Foxconn, Davis said, is whether Wisconsin ensures the factory is prevented from releasing toxic pollution into the lake.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Hopefully, the water returned to the lake will be at least as clean as when it was withdrawn.

President Trump gives remarks at groundbreaking of Apple supplier Foxconn’s $10 billion Wisconsin factory – June 28, 2018
President Trump announces Apple supplier Foxconn’s $10 billion investment in Wisconsin and up to 13,000 jobs – July 27, 2017
President Trump to announce Apple-supplier Foxconn manufacturing plant in Wisconsin today at 5pm EDT – July 26, 2017
Apple supplier Foxconn nearing decision to build plant in Wisconsin to produce display panels – July 25, 2017
Made in America iPhones, after all? Apple supplier Foxconn considering iPhone plant in Wisconsin – June 15, 2017
China Premier Li visits Apple supplier Foxconn after CEO’s meeting with President Trump – May 10, 2017
Foxconn-Sharp considering LCD plant in USA, plans in response to President-elect Trump’s ‘Make in America’ call – January 13, 2017

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Arline M.” for the heads up.]


  1. Hopefully shouldn’t come into it. The water MUST be as clean. If companies are allowed to dump polluted water in the lakes they’ll eventually become toxic hell stews.

  2. Most of that water is likely to be used for the evaporative cooling of the HVAC and process cooling water systems for the factory. It will be turned into rain.

    1. That’s what I thought too when I read it.
      But that MDN quote is not funny.
      It’s MDN Take at its often placating and non-commital and vague stance on an issue.
      I don’t think so.

    1. By an invasive species, zebra mussels…

      While indeed pollution in the USA in some areas was more acute decades ago, the global trend in environmental health is bad and not recovering to a sustainable state. Let’s put it this way: most Americans cannot safely swim or drink in any natural waterway within a day’s drive of where they live. How screwed up is that?

      The scummy profiteers who knowingly pollute have almost unanimously done nothing to clean up their toxic stews. As soon as it got bad enough for citizens to get sick and discover that they have legal rights, the teams of corporate lawyers snarled up every case in court for decades — at least long enough for corporate executives to get off scott free or shutter their US hell holes and move production to equally or dirtier hell holes in China. They could have cleaned up their production and kept US workers on the job, but profits matter more than anything else to them.

      It is as if there is a subspecies of human that truly believes that the purpose of mankind is not to exist peacefully on the planet with all around him, but rather to maximize his personal bank account at the expense of everyone and everything, no matter how much damage is done. Then they will tell you mankind couldn’t possibly cause environmental damage. They imagine, and publish reams of FUD to convince low-information idiots that corporate elites shouldn’t be liable for ruining health and cleanliness of the planet. Some people, Pruitt bobbleheads for example, never learn. Just keep moving west as you destroy what used to be pristine land and water … your children will be certain to thank you.

      1. “Let’s put it this way: most Americans cannot safely swim or drink in any natural waterway within a day’s drive of where they live. How screwed up is that?”

        Not true, not true at all. I grew up in the Northeast where the highest concentration of the USA population lives. Tons of natural waterways you can swim in, although most of them today are illegal unlike the 1960s.

        When you go out West to the Rockies every direction from minutes to hours are clean waterways. Actually today, more natural waterways are cleaner than they were during the industrial revolution.

        The rest of your bloviating preachy post, gawd, you are getting worse than pious USER …

        1. Goeb: not a swimmer apparently. you would probably be shocked how bad lakes and rivers are — and they are worst near populated cities. Of course you can drive to find clean water— not many people live there. Mike is probably not far off.

          For us locally, pollution has induced toxic algae blooms that have killed fish via detoxification, and closed swimming at popular beaches most every summer. At another lake nearby, we have triathlete friends who train for open water swimming. They complain of skin rashes and use some special body wash to clean themselves.

          Pollution runoff from roads and phosphates from agricultural and lawns have spoilt about 40% of US water bodies according to

          The US EPA has a pollution tracker here so you can look up your local waterway:

          Of course, Pruitt has done his best to dismantle water and air quality monitors, so you will see sparse info.

          You might want to study up before dismissing what you don’t want to believe.

          1. I totally agree near large population centers water is not clean enough as it should be. Those are the small area exceptions and looking at a map of the USA do not dominate. I won’t get into the myriad of reasons and violations of the Clean Water Act, but I know locally several dead streams for decades are now clean and support life, particularly in the Northeast…

          2. Here, in northern Ontario there are hundreds of thousands of lakes that I can swim in. Hell…I’d drink out of many. But…we must protect our fresh water. It’s something precious that wars might be fought over.

            1. Same here in the USA outside of the large cities.

              China is the worst, but unfortunately, USA is number two because of pesticides. The Clean Water Act clamped down on business and manufacturing, yet farmers can conduct business as usual.
              Hey Timmy, maybe you should sit down with your SJW green lieutenants and preach to China’s leadership about doing business in the country of the world’s worst water polluting nation. Oops, you don’t want to risk being censored. Detail:


          3. Thanks Realist.

            1 in 10 beaches in the USA is unsafe for swimming; the EPA estimated 3.5 million people become sick from swimming in polluted water every year.


            According to US News, overflowing sewers and farm runoff are causing algae messes that foul lakes and are causing major problems for municipal water supplies.


            Even before the orange hero showed up in D.C., the Potomac and Anacostia rivers were experiencing a total of ~105 sewer overflows each year. More concrete and more lawns and horribly inadequate water treatment facilities, not to mention decades of industrial pollution directly dumped into waterways, make clean water increasingly difficult to find. Trump however thinks that pollution controls are putting people out of work, and is doing his best to destroy what’s left of the environment even faster.

            1. “Even before the orange hero showed up in D.C., the Potomac and Anacostia rivers were experiencing a total of ~105 sewer overflows each year. More concrete and more lawns and horribly inadequate water treatment facilities, not to mention decades of industrial pollution directly dumped into waterways, make clean water increasingly difficult to find.”

              The juvenile classless “orange hero” again. How mature of you.

              But thanks for admitting the problem preceded his presidency. Obama did not fix it in eight years, correct?

              Now it’s an issue, well where have you been the last eight years, hmmm? …

      2. Oh blah blah blah.
        How condescending do you have to be to feel superior?

        I remember the first Earth Day decades ago as a schoolchild and have been fed the BS you puked all my life.

        Yes, there was a time when we didn’t know better or care.
        Yes, we have spent billions and decades cleaning up.
        Yes, we have laws and regulations and regulatory agencies to watch over all this and I am happy for all of this.

        I am also mature enough to realize you can’t have a society without some risk to nature, both short term and long term.
        I’ve never been concerned with the short term issues, they clear up but hope we stay on top of long term issues (mainly groundwater, local ozone levels and farm runoff).

        -A man who grew up in the city AND the country seeing the effect each has on the other…

        (and BTW, a day’s drive from just about anywhere in flyover country is plenty of distance to find clean water. Matter of fact 2 hours is more than enough for most, but don’t let reality affect your uninformed regurgitation)

  3. The concern isn’t the cleanliness of the water when it goes back in the lake, it’s the temperature. Pump warm water into the cold lake and you can muck things up profoundly.

    1. Also oxygen levels, too high or too low – both are dangerous, nitrate concentration due to evaporative cooling techniques, particulate matter, mixing depth of returned water. There’s a host of pitfalls for the lakes environmental quality.

      1. Yes, lakes are stratified at various levels particularly acute in the summer and oxygen levels fluctuate. The draw of the water level is a factor, but probably more so the temperature return depending upon the level and seaon …

        1. So, self described lying Mr. Straight White Male Conservative I offer four facts:

          1. You come here daily to point out the smallest minutiae to denigrate President Trump.

          2. You never compliment the president’s success like record unemployment numbers for Blacks and Hispanics.

          3. You never criticize Democrats, not once.

          4. You never criticize Apple for boneheaded missteps fanboy apologist.

          Did I miss anything? …

          1. Record employment numbers for Blacks and Hispanics? You mean like the claim he has made repeatedly that he has already created three times as many jobs for African-Americans as President Obama did in eight years?

            Mr. Trump’s own Press Secretary was forced to issue a correction today. He has created 700,000 jobs for African-Americans. Obama created almost four million. Unemployment in those minority communities is still almost twice the rate among non-Hispanic whites. Real wages are falling even further behind inflation among those workers than in the white middle class.

            Lies are not minutiae. I would complement the President’s success if he ever had one. I would criticize the Democrats if they had the power to do anything worth criticizing. I have criticized Apple plenty, but I’m not going to pile on when the criticism is not justified, particularly when so much of it involves barely disguised gay-bashing.

            1. “Record employment numbers for Blacks and Hispanics?”

              This is what I posted yesterday afternoon:

              “2. You never compliment the president’s success like record unemployment numbers for Blacks and Hispanics.”

              “record UNemployment numbers” What was it you told me the other day, you can’t teach me to read, right? Well, I am giddy to report I can’t teach you either.

              “Lies are not minutiae. I would complement the President’s success if he ever had one.”

              You lie AGAIN. You once posted you would NEVER give him credit, no matter what he does. But I’ll take the change of heart, unfortunately it’s all flash and no substance.

              Ya know, you really are something. All the positive economic numbers out there and you don’t see a SINGLE REASON to compliment the president. We all know and see it for what it is.

              So for a moment playing pseudo psychologist, what is the reason for your irrational HATRED of Trump and your blindness for how he turned the country around and inability to acknowledge it one atomic particle?

              Honestly, you make no sense and I’m at a loss. Working for the Clintons or the Democratic Party or the liberal media is the only plausible explanation. No one is that BLIND to REALITY, but then again, you certainly are an exception…

            2. “I have criticized Apple plenty”

              Oh really, funny, I have not read one word from you in that regard. In fact, all I read is Apple apologist defense. Now granted, certainly I don’t read every MDN comment published. So please list your top five recent criticisms of Apple.

              My number one is no Mac Pros in five years, what say you?

              “but I’m not going to pile on when the criticism is not justified”

              OK fine, what recent criticism of Apple do you disagree with?

              “particularly when so much of it involves barely disguised gay-bashing.”

              Oh now I get it, misreading something that is not there and injecting PC snowflake politics pollutes EVERYTHING you say and do. Got it …

  4. “MacDailyNews Take: Hopefully, the water returned to the lake will be at least as clean as when it was withdrawn.”

    There are days where MDN says some really naive things, such as this empty response. Of course Foxconn is going to pollute the water, their priority of profits demands it. It should not have been approved. The politicians are screwing the environment and neighboring public which will likely be spun as gains for the economy and a boost for their own political positions, and probably with some $$ for making the deal.

    Tell you what MDN, if this is the best you got then you drink the water they use and let us know when you get cancer…

  5. The agreement was created when Ontario proposed shipping 158 million gallons a year out of the Great Lakes. The shipments never happened. Now Foxconn says of the 7 million per day, 2.7 will be lost, mostly due to evaporation. That’s a loss of 985 million gallons per year.

    1. I have a hard time believing that high of a percentage but how much of that water would evaporate if left in the lake?

      Not as high a percent I am sure but another thought is this; the water doesn’t just disappear like a deep water injection well (this is my main issue with fracking) but will return to be used. Also a large part of that loss will be water vapor which doesn’t necessarily mean evaporation.

      And now my question….what should be done?

      1. Water only evaporates from the top of the lake, so basically all of the 2.7 million gallons/day is extra loss. Also, the portion of the evaporated water that returns to the Great Lakes basin through precipitation is low. I would guess that most ends up in the ocean.

        My complaint is in regard to the politics of it all. There was public outcry in ’98 when a company in Ontario tried to remove a fraction of the amount from L Superior, but now Wisconsin has the freedom to do what it wants.

        1. Thanks Paul but I’m not in the 4th grade.
          Water also does not just evaporate going through a factory.

          Lake effects would probably keep the water vapor pretty close to it’s origin.
          Wisconsin is a LONG way from the Atlantic (although you are correct, all rivers that side of the Divide flow to the Atlantic….)

          Hey, I wonder what the “public outcry of ’96” is in relationship to the “public dissatisfaction of ’16” in water use vs. jobs?

          If it is one or the other, guess what? The need for jobs will Trump the small worry about water loss.
          Does that put a rubber-stamp on waste? No!.

          But I am old enough to know that no matter what factory is being built to make what anywhere there is ALWAYS A PUBLIC OUTCRY AGAINST IT!!!!! Usually it’s a couple of hundred loons (if that many) against the wishes of tens to hundreds of thousands.
          Sometimes they have a good point or two, most of the time they are just complete fucking idiots.

          Show me a new factory ANYWHERE in America and I will show you a public outcry against it.
          The Left is that absurd.

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