[Shaw Media File Photo]
In August, the Army Corps of Engineers released its recommendation of a $275 million proposal for several carp-deterring features, including a package of noise generation, an electric barrier, an engineered channel, a flushing lock and water jets that it believes will decrease the likelihood of a Lake Michigan carp invasion from 36 to 15 percent.
That’s in addition to the electric barrier currently in place near Romeoville.
When the draft proposal was submitted, the corps asked for feedback, which led to the recent letters. It came after Michigan lawmakers banded together in late June to push for an early release of the study.
The last time this was proposed, in late 2014, Lipinski and other congressmen caught wind that Michigan legislators would attempt to tack on a measure to block the Brandon Road lock to an omnibus spending bill, essentially a bill filled with different topics that’s voted on collectively.
In response, Lipinski and fellow local Illinois congressmen such as Kinzinger, Bill Foster and Randy Hultgren were part of a 17-member group to sign a letter sent to House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi opposing the measure.
Foster, D-Naperville, said in a statement sent to The Herald-News that he looks forward to seeing the Army Corps of Engineers’ full report no later than February 2019.
Lipinski confirmed that timeline, saying he spoke with the corps about the topic within the past few weeks and believes any work on the matter won’t begin until at least 2019. Kinzinger said the project would then take five years to complete.
“I think we need to continue to double down on the things that are working right now,” said Kinzinger, who said this topic has been an issue of concern since he entered office and seems to be getting less attention now than in the past. “We need to make sure we don’t impact our economic mobility.”
When the corps’ final report is filed, that debate will begin again. Michigan will have its side, Illinois will have its side and the corps will have its proposed plan options.
One that Lipinski has heard that wasn’t included the corps’ draft plan was chlorinating the water in the lock area so that the fish cannot pass.
What’s ultimately decided will be up to lawmakers then.
“Right now, have electric barriers in the water, which have so far been successful,” Lipinski said. “... This is not something that has been an emergency.”