The Foxconn situation is unusual in that under most circumstances, such a diversion would have required the agreement of the governors of the eight states which surround the Great Lakes. Foxconn was able to get around this requirement due to the location where the request was filed.
The new factory is located in Mount Pleasant, a small town located outside the Great Lakes basin. Such communities have to meet stricter diversion requirements than those within the basin. Therefore, the request was filed by the city of Racine. Due to the fact that Racine is located within the basin, the city made the argument that the waters were being diverted for “public water supply purposes.”
When it granted the request, the Department of Natural Resources did acknowledge that the diversion would include the Foxconn facility.
Conservation groups have fiercely opposed this decision. Representatives from such organizations argue that the diversion request goes against the spirit of the Great Lakes Compact and should have undergone a stricter review process. Several of these organizations have pledged to challenge the decision.