Chipmakers' $52 Billion US Bonanza Imperils Environmental Gains

The CHIPS and Science Act, which President Joe Biden is poised to sign into law next week, was pitched as a once-in-a-lifetime chance to revitalize the US semiconductor industry and counter Asia’s manufacturing power.

What went less discussed was the legislation’s environmental impact. The bill is poised to pump $52 billion into an industry that devours energy and produces toxic waste -- at a time when a global surge in chip demand is already turning companies into bigger polluters.

With both the US and Europe racing to rebuild their chipmaking infrastructure, environmental concerns are taking a back seat, said Pauline Weil, a researcher at Brussels-based economic think tank Bruegel.