Saturday , 18 November 2017

August 2, 2017 E-News

BILL SIGNIFICANTLY ROLLS BACK ENVIRONMENTAL RULES FOR FOXCONN– Despite $3 billion in taxpayer-funded subsidies, technology giant Foxconn would be given wide latitude to bypass state environmental regulations in building and operating its 1,000-acre electronics manufacturing plant in southeastern Wisconsin under a proposal from Gov. Scott Walker. Walker unveiled the sprawling bill Friday as he called lawmakers to convene a special legislative session to pass the measure aimed at speeding up construction of Foxconn’s planned liquid-crystal display panel factory. The bill lawmakers will consider as early as Tuesday allows the company to move or change the course of streams, build man-made bodies of water that connect with natural waterways and discharge materials in state wetlands without authorization from the state Department of Natural Resources. It exempts the company from being subject to an environmental impact statement.

WATER FEES FOR POTENTIAL FOXCONN CAMPUS UNKNOWN– The Racine Water Utility has the legal and practical abilities to provide water out to Interstate 94 for a potential Foxconn facility. The cost of doing so, however, is still unknown. High water impact fees have been a sore spot for local municipal leaders, who say costs have hurt their ability to attract development. So far, the utility has not been directly involved in talks related to Foxconn, which is considering building a massive campus near Interstate 94 in Racine County to manufacture liquid crystal display (LCD) screens. The discussions with the utility have mostly been “big picture” questions about whether it would have the capacity to treat a large amount of water, Utility General Manager Keith Haas said.

STUDY CONFIRMS ‘MISSING LEAD’ AS CAUSE FOR FLINT WATER CRISIS– A study released last week shows a “Swiss cheese pattern” in Flint, Michigan’s lead service lines, with holes where the lead used to be. Researchers at the University of Michigan say the findings support the generally accepted understanding that lead leached into the system because that water wasn’t treated to prevent corrosion. This is the first direct evidence, proving false a regulator’s claim that corrosion control chemicals would not have prevented the water crisis.

A press release from the University of Michigan stated that researchers focused on the layer of metal scale — essentially lead rust — inside 10 lead service line samples from around Flint. They studied the texture of the rust layer, as well as its chemical composition. Then they used their analysis to estimate that the average lead service line released 18 grams of lead during the 17 months that Flint river water (without corrosion control) flowed through the system.

ARMY OFFICIALS RESPOND TO BADGER AMMUNITION NEIGHBORS AT HEATED MEETING – U.S. Army representatives on Wednesday affirmed that the Army will not build the public water system it promised Sauk County residents who live near the former Badger Army Ammunition plant and apologized for the misstep. The Army’s representatives, Mike Kelly and John Tesner, are based in Washington, D.C., and oversee the cleanup of former Army sites nationwide. The pair updated residents about the Army’s decision to abandon the water system and took questions during a heated public meeting attended by more than 50 people in an overflowing room at the Sauk County Public Library. “The construction of the water system is not within our authority … I acknowledge that’s unfortunate,” said Mike Kelly, representing the Army’s assistant chief of staff for installation management. “That’s part of the reason why I wanted to come here today to tell you that in person.” The mea culpa still left local residents frustrated.

TEXAS FRAC SAND BOOM MAY HURT WISCONSIN MINES– A frac sand boom in west Texas could cause pain for Wisconsin mines, especially when demand is low. Eleven new sand mining operations are being developed in the Lone Star State just down the road from some of the nation’s busiest oil fields. Companies with plants in Wisconsin, including Hi-Crush Proppants, U.S. Silica, Unimin and Fairmount Santrol are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to buy sand reserves and build processing facilities in Texas. According to some estimates, the new Texas mines could produce 45 million tons of sand each year with much lower transportation costs than sand coming from western Wisconsin. “The bad news is that the supply closer to Texas obviously takes away market share from the guys who have to rail it and then transload it, etc.,” said Samir Nangia, a Houston-based oil field services analyst, “It’s very hard for a Wisconsin mine to compete with a mine here.”

TOOL PROVIDES COMMUNITIES WITH WATER INFRASTRUCTURE FINANCING INFORMATION– The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is launching the Water Finance Clearinghouse, a web‐based portal to help communities make informed financing decisions for their drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure needs. The Clearinghouse provides communities with a searchable database with more than $10 billion in water funding sources and over 550 resources to support local water infrastructure projects. It consolidates and expands upon existing EPA-supported databases to create a one-stop-shop for all community water finance needs.

WRWA 16th ANNUAL OUTDOOR EXPO – Just three weeks away from this educational and fun-filled event. Classroom training, product demonstrations, attendee activities, heavy equipment displays, Raffle prizes and lunch & refreshments provided. It also includes our Utility Truck competition, “Buy, Sell and Swap” area where you can display items for sale to the over 700 attendees of the event, and the “Tools of the Trade” area where you can display items, tools and equipment you’ve designed yourself to make your job easier. For additional information on this event or to register, go to

QUOTE– “Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.” – George Bernard Shaw

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