Eight U.S. senators led by Sens. Carl Levin, D-Mich. and George Voinovich, R-Ohio, have requested a legislative provision that would authorize the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to take emergency action to stop Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes via any connections with the Mississippi River Basin. This authority would extend to the possible flood zone between the Wabash River and the Maumee River in Indiana. The Army Corps currently has such emergency authority, but it is limited to the Chicago waterway system.
Levin and Voinovich are co-chairs of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force.
The letter to the appropriators was sent yesterday, and is attached. The full text follows:
July 15, 2010
The Honorable Daniel K. Inouye, Chairman
The Honorable Thad Cochran, Vice Chairman
Senate Committee on Appropriations
S-131, U.S. Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20510
The Honorable Byron L. Dorgan, Chairman
The Honorable Robert F. Bennett, Ranking Member
Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development
186 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Chairman Inouye, Vice Chairman Cochran, Chairman Dorgan, and Ranking Member Bennett:
In our March 26, 2010 Great Lakes Task Force letter, we requested that you include in the fiscal year 2011 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill certain Army Corps of Engineers projects that would improve the Great Lakes. As part of that letter was a request that you include the same bill language that was included in Section 126 of the Fiscal Year 2010 Energy and Water Appropriations bill authorizing the Army Corps to implement certain emergency measures to prevent Asian carp from bypassing the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal to keep them from entering the Great Lakes.
Last week, we learned, and EPA confirmed, that Asian Carp have been discovered in an area of the Wabash River in Indiana that is about 20 miles from a potential connection point with the Great Lakes basin. During times of flooding in an area near Fort Wayne, Indiana, the Wabash River could connect via tributaries and drainage ditches with the Maumee River, which flows into Lake Erie. This is of great concern to us.
In light of this discovery, as you draft the fiscal year 2011 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill, we ask that you include language similar to Section 126 of the fiscal year 2010 bill. The needed language would authorize the Army Corps to implement emergency measures to prevent the Asian Carp from entering the Great Lakes via any hydrologic connections that could occur during times of flooding, including via connections between the Wabash River and the Maumee River located in Indiana.
Thank you for your attention to this request to address a very urgent situation.
George V. Voinovich
Charles E. Schumer
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
Roland W. Burris