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Wisconsin has a history of being a leader in environmental protection efforts. These days, that seems like ancient history. More and more it seems we are willing to ignore the laws that keep the state pristine only when it suits us. In recent weeks, we have witnessed a fight over some rare wetlands in Monroe County. A frac-sand mining company wants to dig up 16 acres of protected wetlands. That is the subject of a legal fight, but Madison lawmakers put in a late-night provision to exempt the mining company from any additional permitting requirements. For Foxconn, the state is literally pretending the state’s environmental regulations don’t exist. State legislators exempted the company from all environmental protection laws. Even golf courses are getting a pass. Kohler has won DNR approval to build a course along Lake Michigan in Sheboygan even though the construction will gobble up rare wetlands. Wisconsin used to be known for its environment and efforts to protect it. Remember Aldo Leopold? Gaylord Nelson? That is a proud history, which now seems so long ago.

Published in As I See It

RACINE, Wis. — The southeastern Wisconsin village that will be the location of Foxconn Technology Group’s massive manufacturing complex is offering local homeowners 140 percent of fair market value for their property and landowners $50,000 per acre.

The Village of Mount Pleasant, located about 30 miles (48 kilometers) south of Milwaukee and 60 miles (96 kilometers) north of Chicago, announced its plans Wednesday to make way for the Taiwanese company’s plant, The Journal Times reported .

Village President Dave DeGroot said the area’s properties are in a “desirable location” and that “the amount the village is willing to give reflects that.”

“We know the property acquisition and relocation processes are challenging,” DeGroot said. “As a result, we are making generous, consistent offers to property owners throughout the project area.”

The village is planning to meet with property owners individually to present offers.

Property owners also will be able to get an appraisal on their own that the village will eventually pay for.

Alan Marcuvitz, the attorney working on the acquisitions with the village, said the law only requires Mount Pleasant to pay fair market value, but that the village is adding a 40 percent “bonus.”

“The fair market value times 140 percent is unprecedented as far as my experience is concerned,” Marcuvitz said. “I think it is extremely fair and reasonable.”

Published in National
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