U.S. Rep. Lipinski looks to block Lucas-Berg site as dumping spot
November 13, 2013 9:28AM
Updated: November 15, 2013 8:46AM
U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-3rd, has helped pass legislation in the House that includes a provision he authored to prevent the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from using the Lucas-Berg Confined Placement Facility in Worth as a dumping site for materials dredged from the Cal-Sag Channel, according to a news release from the congressman’s office.
The provision, contained in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) that passed Oct. 25, is an important step toward eliminating the concerns of area residents, the release said.
“Since I was first elected to Congress, one of my top local priorities has been to remove Lucas-Berg as the Army Corps’ designated site for dumping dredged materials from the Cal-Sag. I am very happy that I was able to work with my colleagues to get this language into the House WRRDA bill,” Lipinski said in the release. “This is very good news for the village of Worth and local residents, but we still have work to do. I am working to make sure that this provision is in the final compromise that passes in the House and Senate and becomes law. And I continue to work with the Army Corps to find a place for the dredgings that is not in the middle of a community.”
The Lucas-Berg site, near 111th Street and Southwest Highway, was acquired by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District and, through a long-term lease, designated by the Army Corps in the 1970s as a potential spot to store silt and other materials dredged from the bottom of the Cal-Sag Channel, the release said.
Since the agreement was reached, Worth and neighboring communities have grown and expanded to the point where the dumping would be occurring in people’s back yards if the plans were to proceed, the release said
As the region’s lone representative on the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, which has legislative jurisdiction over the Army Corps, Lipinski has been instrumental in fighting for community members who fear using Lucas-Berg as a disposal site would lower property values and hurt the environment, the release said. He also has been working closely with the Army Corps and MWRD to find suitable alternative locations to store dredged materials so operations on the Calumet-Sag Channel are not negatively impacted, it said.
The primary purpose of WRDDA is to authorize projects that maintain the country’s shipping infrastructure and set environmental policy for the Army Corps. The language in WRRDA regarding Lucas-Berg pit is part of $12 billion worth of old projects and facilities that would be deauthorized, according to the release.
The Senate passed its version of WRRDA in May. With passage in the House, both bills headed to a conference committee to be reconciled before the final legislation can be signed by the president.