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Cook County Board Adopts Resolution Concerned With Foxconn Impacts

Thursday, August 02, 2018
Journal and Topics Media Group
by Tom Robb

Cook County Board Adopts Resolution Concerned With Foxconn Impacts 

Rising Des Plaines River floods River Walk along Campground Road just south of Miner Street (Rte. 14), several years ago. Flooding in this area has become a regular occurance in Des Plaines.

More concerns are being raised about environmental impacts to the Des Plaines River Watershed from the $10 billion Foxconn plant, which President Donald Trump recently helped break ground on in Mount Pleasant, WI.

The Cook County Board adopted a resolution, introduced by Commissioner Larry Suffredin (D-13th) who represents parts of Glenview and Niles, Wednesday, July 25, expressing concerns about environmental impacts from the plant.

“The Board of Commissioners of Cook County supports the Illinois Attorney General, Illinois General Assembly and Illinois agencies in taking whatever actions possible to protect Cook County and the State of Illinois against the loss of water resources, potential flooding, and other ecological impacts from this (Foxconn) development,” part of the county resolution read.

The resolution will be sent to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, the director of the Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, the director of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. EPA.

The county resolution says Wisconsin state legislation, “allows Foxconn to fill 26 acres of wetlands (in the Des Plaines Watershed) with dredged materials without an environmental impact study or input from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.”

Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin (D-13th).

“We need a seat at the table [to discuss environmental concerns about the Foxconn plant], Suffredin said. “And that’s a federal table.”

Colleen Smith of the Illinois Environmental Council testified about Foxconn impacts at the county board committee meeting, also held July 25, saying the weakened environmental standards allowed for Foxconn would fill water storage and aggravate flooding along the Des Plaines River. The Chicago River system is also in the Des Plaines Watershed.

Also testifying at the county committee meeting was Deborah Stone, director of the Cook County Dept. of Environment and Sustainability. Stone said Foxconn uses water in the manufacturing of electronics, including benzine and heavy metals, and said the company had a bad track record at plants overseas when it comes to contaminants and pollutants.  

State Sen. Julie Morrison (D-29th).

At the same time, State Sen. Julie Morrison (D-29th), who represents several Journal-area communities including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Mount Prospect, Prospect Heights and Palatine, is in contact with local representatives in Congress and local mayors to hold a public meeting in September to discuss concerns about the Foxconn plant.    

Morrison is working to coordinate dates for the public meeting with U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider’s (D-10th) office and has reached out to officials with U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky’s staff.

Suffredin, who shares an office in Evanston with Schakowsky, said he would also be in touch with her about federal involvement in the Foxconn issue, once Schakowsky returned from Washington, D.C.

Schneider, Schakowsky and U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) recently sent a joint letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expressing concerns about environmental damage to the Des Plaines Watershed from the Foxconn development.

U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider (D-10th) sits down with Journal reporters at a Northbrook Starbucks after a large town hall meeting at the Northbrook Public Library last year.

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