Illinois governor OKs 1st steps on blocking Asian carp

CHICAGO - JANUARY 14: Paulie Perez of Illinois Marine Towing keeps watch from the deck of the Windy City as it pushes a barge into downtown January 14, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. Because of the fear of the introduction of Asian Carp into Lake Michigan, the state of Michigan and several other states which border the Great Lakes are seeking an injunction to close locks along the Chicago Shipping and Sanitary Canal which is used to carry a reported 17 million tons of cargo annually to and from the city and serves as a link from Lake Michigan to the Illinois and Mississippi rivers. Asian Carp, an invasive species with a voracious appetite, have been migrating north from the Mississippi River since first being introduced to the waterway following flooding in the early 1990s. The Great Lakes states fear introduction of the fish into Lake Michigan will damage the tourism and fishing industries in their states. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — The governor of Illinois is authorizing steps toward the installation of technologies in a Chicago-area waterway to prevent Asian carp from reaching Lake Michigan.

Democrat J.B. Pritzker told the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers he’s willing to move ahead with preconstruction, engineering and design work for the project at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam on the Des Plaines River near Joliet, Illinois.

The location is considered a crucial choke point where the invasive carp could be prevented from migrating upstream toward the lake.

Illinois officials previously have agreed to work with the Army Corps and other Great Lakes states on the project while raising concerns about its cost and potential harm to commercial shipping.

Pritzker said in a letter to the Corps Friday that he wants discussions about reducing the project’s price tag, estimated at $778 million.

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