Quigley Asks U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for Support on Key Priorities Impacting the Great Lakes
CHICAGO – This week, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05) joined members of the bipartisan Great Lakes Task Force in sending a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) requesting support for projects that are of critical importance to the environment and economy of our districts and the entire Great Lakes region. These projects include thwarting the threat of invasive Asian carp, funding major rehabilitation work at the Soo Locks, and advancing the Great Lakes Coastal Resiliency Study to improve policymaking for the area. Read the full letter here or see excerpts below.
“The Great Lakes are a precious natural resources that require our time, attention, and money to protect and maintain,” said Rep. Quigley. “I hope to work together with the USACE on these key projects that will lead to the continued health of this invaluable fresh water supply and economic driver.”
“Asian carp present a serious economic and environmental threat to the Great Lakes,” the letter reads. “To thwart this threat to our billion dollar fishing industries, USACE must provide funding to complete the Brandon Road Lock and Dam Chief’s Report and begin the Preconstruction Engineering and Design phase of the project, address multiple pathways for Asian carp to enter the Great lakes, and ensure the continued operation of the electric dispersal barrier.”
As Illinois’ only Member on the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Quigley worked to secure FY18 omnibus spending bill language to help ensure Asian carp are unable to make it through the Chicago Areas Waterway System (CAWS) into Lake Michigan.
“The Great Lakes Coastal Resiliency Study proposed by USACE, in consultation with Great Lakes states, would be groundbreaking in its strategy to manage and protect the Great Lakes and its 5,200-mile coastline from threats associated with lake erosion, runoff, flooding, lake level fluctuations, and aging infrastructure,” the Representatives wrote. “We urge the USACE to allocate $1.2 million in funding for the Great Lakes Costal Resiliency Study in the FY2019 work plan and $3.6 million in the FY2020 budget request.”
In August, Rep. Quigley re-introduced the Great Lakes Fishery Research Authorization Act (GLFRA), bipartisan legislation that would authorize the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to conduct critical monitoring, scientific assessments, and research in support of fisheries between the U.S. and Canada that lie within the Great Lakes Basin.
“The Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan serve as a linchpin of America’s economy by connecting our industrial heartland’s heavy manufacturing with nearly 80 million tons of critical upstream goods and raw materials,” the letter continues. “To prevent a closure, sufficient funding must be provided to operate and maintain the Soo Locks. We appreciate the allocation of $57 million in the FY2018 work plan which was necessary to provide sufficient funding for major rehabilitation work at the Soo Locks over the next three years. In the FY2019 work plan, we urge the inclusion of $16.6 million be for asset renewal work that is also crucial to ensure the operation of the Lock in the coming year.”