Following the capture of the first Asian carp beyond the electric barriers in the Chicago area waterways last week, U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Menominee) continues to work with a bipartisan group of lawmakers from the Great Lakes region to urge more aggressive actions to protect the Great Lakes from the threat of the Asian carp. Stupak also led the Michigan congressional delegation in co-sponsoring bipartisan legislation to permanently prevent Asian carp and other invasive species from entering the Great Lakes through the Chicago Area Waterway System.
"The introduction of Asian carp into the Great Lakes would have a devastating effect on our unique ecosystems as well as on Michigan's economy," Stupak said. "This capture should reinforce our efforts to prevent the Asian carp from becoming a serious and immediate threat to the entire Great Lakes region. We must remain vigilant in preventing the Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes and I am committed to working with officials of both parties at all levels of government to do that."
In a letter sent to the president on June 29, a group of senators and representatives from the Great Lakes region, including Stupak, called for the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee to take more aggressive steps to stop the carp from migrating into the Great Lakes. The lawmakers urged the committee to immediately strengthen the electronic barriers already in place as well as pursue a strategy to permanently separate the Mississippi River Basin from Lake Michigan.
H.R. 5625, The Permanent Prevention of Asian Carp Act, which Stupak co-sponsored in the U.S. House of Representatives, would require the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct and expedite a study detailing engineering options to determine the best way to permanently separate the two waterways.
The Army Corps would be required to begin the study within 30 days of the bill's enactment, with a progress report being sent to Congress and the President within six months and again in 12 months. The full study would be completed and provided to Congress and the President 18 months after the legislation is enacted. It would be monitored by the Council on Environmental Quality to ensure its thorough and timely completion.
"Successful efforts to prevent the migration of Asian carp into the Great Lakes will require the strengthening of protection systems already in place in the short-term while developing an effective long-term solution that is both environmentally and economically sustainable," Stupak said. "I will continue to partner with my colleagues in the Michigan delegation and across the Great Lakes region to mount an aggressive effort to defend these waters from the Asian carp, and other dangerous invasive species."