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House Passes Bill with Lipinski Provisions That Will Help Prevent Local Flooding, Stop Asian Carp Threat, and Restore Bubbly Creek

The House of Representatives has passed H.R. 8, the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2018, which contains a number of important provisions led by Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3) that will help support and expedite local flood prevention projects, stop the threat of Asian Carp to the Great Lakes, and facilitate the restoration of Bubbly Creek in Chicago.  The bill reauthorizes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to improve and maintain America’s vital inland water infrastructure and ports, providing good-paying jobs and boosting the region’s and the country’s economy.   

In the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee markup of the bill, Lipinski added an amendment he authored which calls on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to enter into an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency to move forward with ecosystem restoration activities at the South Fork of the South Branch of the Chicago River, commonly known as Bubbly Creek.  It has a history of pollution going back more than 100 years to the Union Stockyards.  The Congressman has already secured one million dollars for the restoration project. 

An amendment cosponsored by Lipinski that was added to the bill on the House floor addresses the Asian Carp problem that poses a serious threat to the Great Lakes ecosystem.  The amendment sets the federal share of the cost at 80% for the installation of new technology at Brandon Road to block the carp, which will allow Illinois to continue its leadership role as the Army Corp’s non-federal project partner in Asian Carp mitigation activities.  The amendment also contains a provision which directs the Army Corps to consult with the Governor of Illinois before changes are made.  A separate amendment to the bill was adopted which directs the Army Corps to expedite completion of the Brandon Road study.

As Illinois’ most senior member on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Lipinski was also able to include in the bill a number of provisions that will support the Chicago Metropolitan Water Reclamation District’s (MWRD) work to advance critical flood control and stormwater management projects.  One of those provisions continues a pilot program that allows local project sponsors, like MWRD, to build projects on behalf of the Army Corps, which often expedites important projects and saves taxpayer money in the process.  This will help with a number of flood control projects in the Third District.