Rep. Schneider to probe potential Foxconn-related flooding in Illinois at Friday field hearing

Schneider, whose 10th Congressional District runs to the Wisconsin border and takes in most of Lake County, is concerned that the project impact will worsen flooding on the Des Plaines River.

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Rep. Brad Schneider. Photo by Lynn Sweet

WASHINGTON — Concerned that the Foxconn development near Kenosha, Wisconsin, is increasing the frequency and severity of Des Plaines River flooding as it flows through northern Illinois, Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Ill., is holding a hearing on the situation Friday in the Wheeling Village Hall.

Foxconn, a Taiwanese company known for being an iPhone manufacturer, made a highly publicized and subsidized deal with the state of Wisconsin to build its first facility in the United States.

Schneider, whose 10th Congressional District runs to the Wisconsin border and takes in most of Lake County, is concerned the project impact will worsen flooding on the Des Plaines River.

The field hearing, titled “Flooded Out: Vanishing Environmental Reviews and the SBA’s Disaster Loan Program,” is at 10:30 a.m. Friday at Wheeling Village Hall and is open to the public.

Schneider said in a statement, “When corners are cut on environmental reviews, our local communities pay the price. This is the case for my constituents along the Des Plaines river watershed. Our downstream homeowners and small businesses are predicted to face more extreme flooding after former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s Administration waived important environmental reviews to push through a massive development by Foxconn just over the state line.”

Walker, aRepublican, pushed through the Foxconn subsidies and waived certain state environmental requirements.President Donald Trump would go on to promote the Foxconn deal and fly to Wisconsin for the groundbreaking.

Earlier this year, Schneider, with Illinois Democrats Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth and Rep. Lauren Underwood — whose sprawling 14th District extends to the Gurnee area in Lake County — askedthe new Democratic Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers to re-evaluate Foxconn’s environmental impact of the proposed Foxconn construction and his state’s decision to waive important environmental review of the development.

Schneider is hosting the hearing in his role as a member of the House Small Business Committee; the hearing will also address what strain, if any, Foxconn could put on the Small Business Administration’s disaster loan program.

Experts at the hearing will include Mike Warner, the executive director of the Lake County Stormwater Management Commission and Howard Learner, the founder and executive director of the Environmental Law and Policy Center.

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