U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) today introduced bipartisan legislation to prevent Asian carp and other invasive species from entering the Great Lakes. The Stop Invasive Species Act requires the speedy creation of an action plan to block Asian Carp from entering the Great Lakes through a number of rivers and tributaries across the Great Lakes region.
Joining them in the effort are Great Lakes lawmakers from both congressional chambers.
"It has become clear that Asian Carp are migrating throughout the Great Lakes region, and efforts to stop the spread of this invasive species must now address every possible point of entry," said Senator Stabenow. "Asian Carp pose a grave threat to Michigan's $7 billion fishing industry, $16 billion recreational boating industry and the entire Great Lakes ecosystem, and we need action now. We can't afford to wait."
"Asian Carp have the potential to do enormous harm to the economy of the Great Lakes region, so it's critical that we understand and have the best available data on how to prevent them from entering the Great Lakes, whether that be through the Mississippi River Basin or other tributaries," said Portman. "Our legislation requires the Army Corps of Engineers to accelerate a comprehensive examination of all options to permanently block the Asian carp and help ensure that a cost effective solution is reached before it is too late."
A bipartisan bill introduced last year, the Stop Asian Carp Act, required the Army Corp of Engineers to develop an action plan to permanently separate Lake Michigan from the Chicago Area Waterway System, long seen as the Carp's primary entry point to the Great Lakes. Today's bill goes further to require a plan to stop Asian Carp at all of the invasive species' potential entry points.
The Stop Invasive Species Act requires the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to submit to Congress an expedited action plan with options for stopping Asian Carp from penetrating the Great Lakes across 18 possible points of entry. The bill requires the Army Corps to submit a progress report to Congress and the President within 90 days of the laws' enactment. The full plan would need to be completed within 18 months.
Under the Stop Invasive Species Act, the Army Corp would continue to examine modes of transportation across key waterways to ensure shipping could continue while mechanisms for preventing Asian Carp from destroying the Great Lakes are implemented.
The bill is supported by the Great Lakes Commission, The Great Lakes Fishery Commission, Alliance for the Great Lakes, Healing our Waters Coalition, National Wildlife Federation and Trout Unlimited.
In the Senate, Stabenow and Portman are the lead sponsors. Co-sponsors are Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Carl Levin (D-M), Robert Casey (D-PA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).
Congressman Dave Camp (R-MI) and Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY) introduced similar legislation in the House.