Rep. Lipinski Urges U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to Move Forward with Bubbly Creek Restoration Project (July 24, 2015)

Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3) is urging the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) not to cancel the Bubbly Creek restoration project at the South Fork of the South Chicago River because it is an important community and environmental project.  In a letter, he asks the USACE to work proactively to ensure that this critical project proceeds in an expeditious and environmentally sound manner.

The creek received its name from the gases bubbling out of the riverbed from the decomposition of animals and other materials dumped into the river in the early 20th century by the local meatpacking businesses surrounding the Union Stock Yards directly south of the creek's endpoint.  It received more attention after it was vividly described in Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle,” an eye-opening novel on the American meat packing industry.

“The Bubbly Creek restoration project has been ongoing for ten years and its completion would provide significant economic and environmental benefits in a historically polluted area that is undergoing a period of economic and ecologic revitalization,” Rep. Lipinski said.  “Bubbly Creek is currently unable to support healthy plant and animal communities, as well as full use by the adjoining community.  The restoration project would remedy these issues by restoring the habitat to provide a home for migratory waterfowl and wetland fish, including two threatened species.”

Congressman Lipinski worked with colleagues from both sides of the aisle to secure over $900,000 in the Fiscal Year 2008 and 2009 Energy & Water Appropriations bills to move this effort forward.  He is concerned by the recent decision by the USACE to halt this project after the discovery of contaminated sediment from the adjacent former manufactured gas facilities.  He believes that this is a short-sighted and unnecessary decision, and encourages the USACE to reconsider it.

“There are numerous legal avenues that could be used to mitigate liability and there is the possibility of working in tandem with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure that the adjacent sites are cleaned-up while continuing work on the Bubbly Creek restoration,” said Rep. Lipinski.  “Many stakeholders have expressed a willingness to cooperate with the USACE, and such assistance should not be ignored, especially for a project as important as this.”

This project is a priority for area residents and Lipinski urges the USACE to work with the EPA and other entities to find the necessary solutions to solve this temporary problem.  There has been considerable progress in the last decade and he is eager to work with the USACE to keep the project on track.