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Public Statements

Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriation Act, 2014

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. KELLY of Pennsylvania. Madam Chair, I have an amendment at the desk.

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Mr. KELLY of Pennsylvania. Madam Chair, part of the district that I represent is Lake Erie. I also have the Ohio River Watershed. My amendment would have allowed the Army Corps to combat the Asian carp in the Ohio River.

There are over 30 States affected by Asian carp, and this invasive fish is already throughout the Midwest. This is about protecting our regional economy, the fishing industry, and the livelihoods of all of us who rely on the water for our jobs.

This invasive species significantly alters the habitat. It crowds out native fish, and it is also a threat to boaters. I've worked very closely with Senator Toomey, with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, as well as with legislators who represent that potentially affected area, to both study and develop plans of action to deal with this invasive species. This is what we understand:

Under just one measure, the Great Lakes fisheries generate U.S. economic activity of approximately $7 billion annually, and our native fish populations, like walleye, perch, and lake herring, would be devastated by the Asian carp establishment, threatening this industry and the livelihoods of all of those who depend on this ecosystem's health.

I want to thank you, Mr. Chairman, for allowing me to bring this forward, and I hope, in the future, we can take a look at it.

Madam Chair, I ask unanimous consent to withdraw the amendment, and I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. KELLY of Pennsylvania. Will the gentlelady yield?

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Mr. KELLY of Pennsylvania. I want to thank you very much for your comments. The gentlelady from Minnesota (Ms. McCollum) is also very aware of this.

I think all of us who represent the Great Lakes area understand the danger that this fish is bringing into our Great Lakes and into the fishing industry. It is unbelievable the amount of damage that's being done, not only to the fishing industry, but also to boaters. For anybody who has seen film, this is a fish that actually comes out of the water and goes after boaters. It gets very easily aggravated. Now, you don't have to have a motor on the boat--you can be paddling the boat--and this fish will come out of the water and hit people. I have seven grandchildren whom I take out with me from time to time. The oldest one is 8 years old. These are small people. This fish is 70 pounds when it reaches its full maturity. It is a voracious eater. It is going to totally take over the Great Lakes, and it will ruin our fishing industry.

So I can't tell you how much I appreciate your comments and your concern. Also, I know this is not a Republican or a Democratic issue. This is an American issue that has to be looked into, and I thank you very much for your comments.

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