An amendment to the Energy and Water Appropriations bill has passed and prevents the removal of critical functions and staff from the District Office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Chicago. The Windy City is home of the frontline fight against Asian carp entering the Great Lakes.
Republican Senator Mark Kirk and Senator Richard Durbin, a Democrat, proposed the amendment after U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced plans to move Chicago district office functions to Detroit.
The senators believe the move, had it been made, would have potentially affected more than 200 employees who oversee projects such as Asian carp electric barriers and Chicago locks and dams designed to keep the invasive species out of the Great Lakes.
“One of the key projects for the [U.S.] Army Corps Chicago District is its mission to prevent the spread of destructive Asian carp,” Senator Kirk said in a joint media release. “While I support the corps’ intention to reduce overhead costs, I am concerned we do not have a full understanding of the impacts this decision could have on the corps’ ability to carry out its core function protecting Lake Michigan and our waterways.”
The amendment offered by Kirk and Durbin prohibits funds from being used to move critical functions and staff from the Chicago district. It also requires the corps to report on any future consolidation plans.
“Chicago is the largest city on the edge of the Great Lakes. When important decisions are made about preventing the spread of Asian Carp, rehabilitating the Chicago Shoreline, constructing the Deep Tunnel and dredging the local harbours, they should be made right here in Illinois,” Senator Durbin said in release. “Without an explanation from the Army Corps of Engineers about the impact of this decision on the over 200 employees in the Chicago district office, I am strongly opposed to this proposed move.”