Congressmen Sound Alarm Over Anti-Asian Carp Move
Crain's Chicago Business
A group of 17 congressmen, including Dan Lipinski and Peter Roskam of Illinois, is trying to head off what is being called a sneak attack, apparently by foes of the Asian carp.
In a letter to House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the group says it's heard that efforts are underway to include funds to install some sort of physical barrier at the Brandon Road Lock & Dam on the Des Plaines River near Joliet. The funding provision would be attached to "must-pass" legislation, like a budget bill, that will receive only minimal debate during the congressional lame-duck session in December.
Such a provision "may undermine significant commercial navigation and environmental interests," the letter states. "We ask that you halt any attempt to advance this construction outside of the regular order of business."
The carp so far have been confined to various rivers, but some fear the voracious fish eventually will make its way to the Great Lakes unless the Chicago River system and Lake Michigan are physically separated.
The work being eyed has not been reviewed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or the federal budget office, or considered by the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, the letter adds. The provision apparently would transfer authority over such work from the corps to some other, unspecified agency.
The letter does not state who's behind the proposal, but a source pointed to U.S. Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich. Neither he nor his spokesman was immediately available for comment.
The funding proposal for a permanent barrier comes a few days after the corps unveiled another alternative, a barrier that would use high-speed water circulation or other technology.
Other congressmen signing the letter besides Lipinski, a Chicago Democrat, and Roskam, a Republican from Wheaton include: Joliet Republican Adam Kinzinger, Naperville Democrat Bill Foster, Wheaton Republican Randy Hultgren, and four downstaters: Democrat William Enyart and Republicans Rodney Davis, Aaron Schock and John Shimkus.
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