LaHood: Illinois can decide Asian carp strategy on its own

PEORIA, Illinois (Illinois News Network)– Once again leaders from other Great Lakes states are trying to move Illinois toward their preferred plan to deal with Asian carp in the Illinois River.

But Congressman Darin LaHood says that Illinois has a handle on Asian carp, and doesn’t need to be pushed, pulled, or told what direction to go.

A group of congressmen last month considered sending a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and ordering them to finish a report about the Illinois River carp defenses by the end of the year.

LaHood has most of the river in his district. He says Illinois is doing a great job keeping carp far enough away from the lakes.

“We need to make out own decisions,” LaHood, R-Peoria, said. “We are a sovereign state. We have a lot of smart, bright people working here for our Department of Natural Resources. I think we have done a pretty good job of maintaining and managing the issue here in Illinois.”

LaHood says he welcomes outside opinions, just not orders.

“I’m all for listening to what other states are doing,” LaHood added. “But frankly, we will make our own decisions. We will make them with our own legislature, we will make them with our own government officials. We shouldn’t have the federal government or other states telling us what to do.”

Last year, Illinois political leaders rejected the so-called “Brandon Road” plan that would involve installing electronic barriers on the Illinois River near Joliet to try and block the invasive fish. That project had a price tag of $275 million.

The problem is money. Other Great Lakes states want Illinois to wall off the Illinois River, and spend tens of millions of dollars to fight Asian carp.

But Illinois doesn’t have the money, and state leaders have repeatedly said that they won’t wall off the river.