Legislation written by U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow and Congressman Dave Camp to stop Asian carp from destroying the Great Lakes' ecosystem is poised for a vote in both Houses of Congress today or tomorrow. The Stop Invasive Species Act would require the expedited creation of a plan to block Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes through a number of rivers and tributaries across the Great Lakes region. The Stop Invasive Species Act has been included as part of comprehensive, bipartisan transportation legislation that must be passed by week's end to keep the country's highway trust fund from going broke.
Senator Stabenow introduced the bill in the Senate and Rep. Camp introduced the bill in the House.
"Michigan needs action now to stop Asian carp and other invasive species from devastating our Great Lakes and the hundreds of thousands of jobs that depend on them," said Senator Stabenow. "Temporary fixes have proven inadequate and this dangerous invasive species is now on the Great Lakes' doorstep. Congress must pass this bill to require quick action on a permanent solution to stop Asian carp."
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 law's enactment. The full plan would need to be completed within 18 months, meaning the Corps would have to complete its work in 2013.
After Stabenow and Camp introduced their legislation, the Army Corps voluntarily said they would begin work on a plan for permanent solutions for stopping Asian carp. While that announcement was welcome news, the Corps' plan would not present fully completed solutions, and it would focus solely on the Chicago Waterway System, rather than the carp's 17 other possible points of entry. The Stop Invasive Species Act requires a completed plan, with proposed solutions for all 18 possible entry ways.
Stabenow and Camp's legislation 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.