The state of Wisconsin will not compromise its environmental standards for Foxconn, the multinational electronics manufacturer that wants to build a huge factory in southeast Wisconsin, state Rep. Joel Kitchens said this week.
Kitchens, R-Sturgeon Bay, checked in with the Algoma City Council on Monday and said the Foxconn deal could have positive ripple effects throughout the state economy.
“I would caution people to be suspicious of anything you read about it, because there’s so much misinformation being put out about that right now,” Kitchens said. “It’s just kind of crazy, people write articles that are just totally inaccurate.”
When Mayor Wayne Schmidt began to question the deal based on breaks the big company reportedly would get with regard to environmental standards, Kitchens broke in to say the state is not giving up anything with regard to oversight.
“I’m pretty comfortable that none of the standards, not a single standard – whether it’s water quality, discharge, air pollution – will be changed at all. It’s just the permitting process,” Kitchens said. “When you get into the weeds and really look at how it’s done, I think there are pretty good protections there to make sure that it’s done properly. I just want to stress that, though: Nothing’s being loosened up, they’re not going to get away with anything that nobody else could.”
One of the reasons Foxconn officials chose Wisconsin is they want to move quickly and break ground in May, he said, but not at the expense of air and water.
The deal has slowed the already stalled budget process, and the 2015-17 state budget may not be passed until after the Foxconn deal is taken care of, Kitchens said.
Video of the entire Algoma City Council meeting is available at algomatv.com.