Great Lakes lawmakers call on
Corps to build electric barrier
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.