Days before the Army Corps of Engineers is slated to make its recommendations for new measures to prevent Asian carp from entering Lake Michigan, Rep. Debbie Halvorson (IL-11), joined leaders from the Illinois Chamber, Chicagoland Chamber, and local businesses to present petition signatures calling for the Army Corps to protect local jobs and businesses by rejecting calls from Michigan and other states to close local locks.
"This petition shows how local businesses and those who work on the locks every day are standing side by side to call for the Army Corps to protect Illinois jobs," said Halvorson. "The Great Lakes are precious to all of us, but in these turbulent economic times, even temporary closure or reduced operation of the locks will have a devastating impact on our families and businesses - especially when lock closure is not guaranteed to stop Asian Carp."
"We can and must work together to find a balanced, common-sense solution that protects our environment and economy, but that can't include lock closures. We can stop Asian carp, but it can?t be at the expense of Illinois businesses, jobs and citizens," said Halvorson. "Too many businesses and jobs depend on the locks, and lock closure is an unproven strategy unlikely to be successful. We're calling on the Army Corps to reject closure as an option."
Working to bring a diverse set of stakeholders to the table to form a united front to protect Illinois jobs, Halvorson was joined by Jim Farrell from the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, Jim Robbins from the Illinois Corn Marketing Board, Terry Doyle from Calumet River Fleeting, Mike Borgstrom from Wendella Boats, and employees from businesses that work on the locks.
Halvorson has been a staunch advocate for businesses and working families in her calls to keep the locks open. One of the leaders joining Halvorson was Jim Farrell of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, who reported on the findings of an economic impact study recently concluded by the Chamber that shows the cost of closing the locks would be nearly $5 billion over 20 years.
"Since the State of Michigan started this debate with untested eDNA results and baseless economic reports, companies have stopped expansion plans, frozen hiring, and been unable to get financing because of uncertainty regarding the locks," said Jim Farrell, Executive Director of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce Infrastructure Council. "I commend Congresswoman Halvorson's work to bring so many of us together on this important issue, and I look forward to continuing the fight with her to protect Illinois jobs."