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Letter to Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad W. Allen and Fish & Wildlife Service Director Sam D. Hamilton

50 Members of Congress Send Letter Calling for Measures to Stop Asian Carp from Getting to Great Lakes

U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and 49 other members of Congress sent a letter to administration officials today calling for immediate steps to stop Asian Carp from spreading to the Great Lakes. Levin co-chairs the Senate Great Lakes Task Force with Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio. The letter was sent to Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad W. Allen and Fish & Wildlife Service Director Sam D. Hamilton.

A PDF of the letter is available by clicking here. The text of the letter follows:

Dear Secretary Darcy, Administrator Jackson, Admiral Allen, and Director Hamilton:

We are writing today to emphasize the urgency for keeping the Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. Recently, testing has found genetic material from Asian carp above the electric dispersal barrier in the Chicago Sanitary and Shipping Canal. We urge all of your agencies to work cooperatively and expeditiously to prevent the carp from entering the Great Lakes.

Specifically, we urge your agencies to immediately consider:

* Implementing the recommendations of the Asian Carp Rapid Response Project. This project is a federal/non-federal partnership of leading experts.

* Closing the O'Brien and Chicago Locks if there is reasonable likelihood that Asian carp are above the barrier.

* Continuing the use of piscicides as a rapid response measure.

* Creating a permanent hydrological separation between the Great Lakes and the Canal.

* Increasing the voltage of the electric dispersal barrier to prevent Asian carp of any size from crossing the barrier.

* Drafting and approving the planned interim reports as part of the Efficacy Study, which was authorized under section 3061 of WRDA 2007, in order for the Corps of Engineers to take action to prevent Asian carp from bypassing the existing electric dispersal barrier project in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal.

In addition to finding positive eDNA in the Canal, genetic material was also found in the Des Plaines River, north of the electric dispersal barrier. Given the risk that the carp could bypass the barrier if the Des Plaines River were to flood, Congress provided the Corps with additional authority in the Fiscal Year 2010 Energy and Water Appropriations bill to prevent this from happening. We understand that work on this report is on-going, and it is urgent that an interim report be finalized soon.

Finally, we encourage you to carefully consider your Fiscal Year 2011 budget needs for the barrier project and Asian carp efforts. Over the life of the barrier project, Congress has had to provide new authority and new funding on multiple occasions, and a comprehensive, planned approach would be more effective.

There may be no greater threat to the ecosystem of the Great Lakes than the introduction of the Asian carp, and we must do all that we can to prevent this from happening. We appreciate your attention to this urgent matter and look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Carl Levin, United States Senator

George V. Voinovich, United States Senator

Mark Kirk, Member of Congress

John Dingell, Member of Congress

Louise M. Slaughter, Member of Congress

Vernon J. Ehlers, Member of Congress

Debbie Stabenow, United States Senator

Sherrod Brown, United States Senator

Russ Feingold, United States Senator

Robert Casey, Jr., United States Senator

Herb Kohl, United States Senator

Roland Burris, United States Senator

Amy Klobuchar, United States Senator

Al Franken, United States Senator

Charles Schumer, United States Senator

Kristen E. Gillibrand, United States Senator

Brian Higgins, Member of Congress

Sander Levin, Member of Congress

Gwen Moore, Member of Congress

Marcy Kaptur, Member of Congress

Gary Peters, Member of Congress

Judy Biggert, Member of Congress

Betty Sutton, Member of Congress

Mike Quigley, Member of Congress

Fred Upton, Member of Congress

John Conyers, Jr., Member of Congress

Peter Visclosky, Member of Congress

Candice Miller, Member of Congress

Dave Camp, Member of Congress

Mike Roger, Member of Congress

Tammy Baldwin, Member of Congress

Dale Kildee, Member of Congress

Steven LaTourette, Member of Congress

Kathy Dahlkemper, Member of Congress

Janice Schakowsky, Member of Congress

Mark Schauer, Member of Congress

Thaddeus McCotter, Member of Congress

Pete Hoekstra, Member of Congress

Tim Ryan, Member of Congress

Bart Stupak, Member of Congress

Robert Latta, Member of Congress

Charles Wilson, Member of Congress

Joe Donnelly, Member of Congress

Thomas Petri, Member of Congress

Steve Kagen, Member of Congress

James Sensenbrenner, Member of Congress

Ron Kind, Member of Congress

Carolyn Kilpatrick, Member of Congress

Paul Ryan, Member of Congress

Luis Gutierrez, Member of Congress


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