DNR approves Foxconn’s preliminary air emissions permit

Public hearing to be held April 3

The site Foxconn Technology Group has selected for its 20 million-square-foot campus.

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:12 pm

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has given Foxconn Technology Group preliminary approval for air emissions from its planned $10 billion LCD manufacturing campus in Mount Pleasant.

The department issued its finding Friday and a 30-day public comment period began Saturday. A public hearing is scheduled for April 3 at the SC Johnson iMET Center in Sturtevant. An open house and informal question and answer sessions will be held starting at 6 p.m. and the public hearing will begin at 7 p.m. A final determination will be made within 60 days of the end of the public comment period on April 16.

The site Foxconn Technology Group has selected for its 20 million-square-foot campus.
Curtis Waltz/Aerialscapes.com

The preliminary approval comes as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is considering classifying Racine County, and a number of other areas in southeastern Wisconsin as having not attained a more stringent ozone standard. The designation could make it more difficult or costly for a new source of emissions to begin construction. The DNR has asked for an attainment designation for the entire state or for just a small stretch along Lake Michigan to receive the non-attainment label. A final decision is expected in late April or May.

Since December, Foxconn subsidiaries have submitted four applications for facilities in the 22-million-square-foot campus. Those applications include an initial assembly facility, a nitrogen plant, energy facility and the main 818 fabrication plant.

Construction is expected to begin this year on the assembly facility, while the other facilities would be built over the coming years with operations beginning by 2020.

Most of the emissions would come from the fabrication plant where Foxconn would build the LCD panels that eventually become televisions and displays. A third-party glass plant on the campus, likely to be built by Corning Inc., is not included in the permit applications.

BizTimes reported last week that the company’s proposed emissions would represent a roughly 6 percent increase in Racine County emissions of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds, both precursors to ground-level ozone.

The DNR’s analysis determined the combined impact of Foxconn’s nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds would not contribute to a violation of emissions standards.

The department also determined the plant’s emissions would account for 28.6 percent of the area’s allowable increase in coarse particulate matter over a 24-hour period and 9 percent of the allowable increase on an annual basis.

For fine particulate matter, the plant would account for 95.3 percent of the allowable increase on a 24-hour basis and 38.3 percent on the annual measure

The plant would account for 20.8 percent of the allowable increase in nitrogen dioxide, while sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide were below significant impact levels.

In a letter to Foxconn officials, the department estimated the company would be required to pay nearly $340,000 in fees for the permit review process. Most of the fees are the result of analysis the DNR was required to conduct, but the company would also be paying $22,500 for expedited review and $1,500 for requesting a public hearing.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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