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Great Lakes Article:

Great Lakes lawmakers call on Corps to build electric barrier
Associated Press

Great Lakes lawmakers criticized the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Thursday for delays in setting up an electric barrier to protect the waterways from invasive species.

The Corps had planned to spend $4.4 million this year to build the barrier on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, but it's proposed 2005 budget slashed funding for the project to $500,000.

Sens. Mike DeWine and George Voinovich, both R-Ohio, and Carl Levin, D-Mich., and 22 other lawmakers sent a letter to the Corps this week asking that the funding be restored so the project can be completed this year.

They said the barrier is needed to keep species such as the Asian carp, which can destroy a system's food supply, from swimming up the Mississippi River to the Chicago River and into Lake Michigan.

A temporary barrier has already been in operation on the Great Lakes for several years. Lawmakers said its positive results show the need for a second barrier, which consists of electric cables under the canal that emit low-level charges to keep fish away.

Corps officials in Washington and Chicago did not return calls seeking comment.

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