Series: Foxconn In Wisconsin

Wisconsin's deal with electronics manufacturing giant Foxconn has stirred up a mix of excitement and doubt. The state offered the Taiwan-based company about $3 billion in economic incentives and a waiver on a variety of environmental and other regulations to build a large LCD fabrication complex. In return, Foxconn touted the possibility of creating thousands of jobs and invigorating Wisconsin as a Midwestern tech hub. This type of manufacturing would place considerable demands on the state's natural resources, especially water, and can create significant pollution. The net effect of this deal will take years to emerge, but boosters and skeptics alike agree that a Foxconn footprint would have profound and complex implications for Wisconsin's future.
 
Questions surround the types of jobs Foxconn requires: What levels of educational attainment or skills are needed? What are typical wages for these types of occupations? Are these jobs susceptible to replacement through automation or computerization?
The soon-to-be-celebrated 10th anniversary of the Great Lakes Compact's creation comes at a time when the durability and effectiveness of the agreement are under close scrutiny.
Local and state officials in Illinois are beginning to worry about a force that could direct more water into the Des Plaines River: The large campus Taiwan-based electronics manufacturer Foxconn is building in the Racine County village of Mount Pleasant.
Wisconsin's decision to let Foxconn draw water from Lake Michigan may set a precedent for water use that resonates across the Great Lakes region and beyond.
Supporting one high-profile Great Lakes diversion and opposing another might seem contradictory, but UW-Parkside geosciences professor John Skalbeck clearly sees no tension in his positions.
Community members and advocacy groups opposing the bid by Foxconn and the city of Racine for Lake Michigan water are zeroing on a specific issue: The request amounts to a water utility sourcing the Great Lakes almost entirely for the use of one private company.
Cities and businesses seeking to access Great Lakes waters often emphasize how minuscule their water use would be compared to even the supply of just one of the individual lakes.
Wisconsin exports a diverse array of agricultural products around the world One high-profile item is ginseng, an herb that has been grown in parts of central Wisconsin for over a century.
Wisconsin has yet to wrap up one big conversation about how it uses Great Lakes water, and is already embarking upon another.
No one knows yet for sure how much water Foxconn's planned electronics manufacturing plant in Mount Pleasant will need for its daily operations, but just getting it there will be a big job.