Durbin, Gutierrez Urge Cooperation To Expedite Bubbly Creek Restoration

WASHINGTON, D.C. –-(ENEWSPF)–July 27, 2015.  U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) today urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to work together to expedite the restoration of the South Fork of the South Branch of the Chicago River – known as “Bubbly Creek”.

“It’s important for communities in and around Chicago that this cleanup of Bubbly Creek moves forward,” said Durbin.  “In order to do that, we need the Army Corps and EPA working together to identify areas where work can begin without delay.”

“We cannot delay the cleanup of Bubbly Creek any further,” said Gutierrez.  “It is essential not just for our environment, but also for the economic well-being of the surrounding communities and the City of Chicago.”

A recent report in the Chicago Tribune noted that plans for a $15.4 million restoration of “Bubbly Creek” stalled after the EPA discovered contaminated sediment near the site began conducting a cleanup.  Following that report and discussion with local community leaders, Durbin sent a letter to the Army Corps asking that they suspend rather than cancel their plans for restoration.  That letter can be accessed HERE.

Text of today’s letter is below. 

July 24, 2015

Administrator Gina McCarthy                      The Honorable Jo-Ellen Darcy
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency         Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works      
1200 Pennsylvania Ave NW                        108 Army Pentagon
Washington, DC 20460                             Washington, DC 20310-0108

Dear Administrator McCarthy and Assistant Secretary Darcy:

We write to urge the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to work together to ensure that the restoration of the South Fork of the South Branch of the Chicago River (known as ‘Bubbly Creek’) occurs as expediently as possible.    

The Corps has spent several years studying the restoration of Bubbly Creek, has dedicated funding to the project, and is ready to begin.  The EPA discovered contaminated sediment near the site and is conducting a cleanup.  It is our hope that the EPA is able to expedite its cleanup where the two projects overlap, thus allowing the Corps to begin restoration.  If the Corps and the EPA work together you may be able to mitigate liability concerns without wasting the time and money that has already been invested throughout this decade-long study process.

The Corp’s restoration project is strongly supported by the City of Chicago, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, and the surrounding community.  The restoration activities would provide much-needed revitalization to an area with a history of industrial pollution.  It would be a valuable step in moving the South Side of Chicago to a more environmentally sustainable neighborhood.  This project is too important to be delayed.

We encourage you to work together to see that the EPA cleanup and the Corps restoration is done without delay.  Please give this request your immediate attention and I look forward to hearing from you.

Source: www.gutierrez.house.gov