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MILWAUKEE - Residents in Lake County, Illinois, are pushing to make sure the Foxconn development in Racine County won't result in additional flooding for downstream residents.
Since the Wisconsin Legislature waived environmental regulations for Foxconn, the Lake County Stormwater Management Commission approved its own engineering study to make sure its watershed improvement projects won't be harmed by runoff from the site.
Stormwater Commission Executive Director Michael Warner said the study is needed so they can address potential watershed-wide flood impacts. "People don't want to have an increased flooding problem due to upstream impacts, so that is the reason we're taking a close look at it," Warner said. "But we also are aware that there are benefits to this, to the project. There is economic benefits."
Last week, the Lake County Commission approved $74,000 to fund the study. The Taiwanese electronics manufacturer received strong support from Gov. Scott Walker and President Donald Trump to move to Wisconsin with its promise to hire 13,000 workers.
The Foxconn site is in the headwaters of the Des Plaines River, which flows down to several Lake County communities in Illinois. Warner said mitigation should occur in the same watershed. For example, if the proposed plan is to create two acres of wetlands for every acre the company fills, it should all be in the same region. "If it's replaced at least at one-to-one in the Des Plaines watershed, we would see that benefit, we being the downstream residents and businesses," he said.
The county's impact analysis consists of a multi-phased review to objectively identify the magnitude of stormwater, floodplain and wetland impacts, and all mitigation methods proposed. Earlier in the year the county passed resolutions opposing any state decision to reduce or overlook environmental standards.