U.S. Representative Judy Biggert (R-IL-13th) issued the following statement after U.S. Representative Dave Camp (R-WI-4th) announced the introduction of legislation, H.R. 4472, that would close major Chicago-area navigational waterways as part of a broader effort to address the invasive Asian carp, reversing Tuesday's Supreme Court decision in favor of Illinois:
"Measures like these may catch headlines, but they won't catch carp. Illinois has been leading the charge to block these invasive species from day one, but all Great Lakes states share a stake in this issue. They should be working with us, not against us. Those calling to shut down Chicago-area shipping and commerce need to start listening to the advice of our environmental experts in the field and stop playing legal games. Closing down these navigational waterways would not only disrupt billions in shipping and threaten jobs throughout the Midwest, it holds no guarantee of stopping the carp. In fact, it's more likely to cause widespread flooding and create new avenues for the Asian Carp to enter Lake Michigan. The Supreme Court made the right call, and Congress should ignore any attempts to reverse it.
"The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the EPA and other federal, state, and local partners are all working together to forge ahead with the most scientifically-sound solutions that protect the lakes and the livelihoods of Illinois residents. Just this week, the Asian Carp Rapid Response Group laid out its latest plans for enhancing our electronic barriers, deploying fish toxin, additional DNA tracking, and the creation of new barriers against flooding threats. I stand ready to support these efforts in Congress, and I would hope that my colleagues from other states would do the same. The right solution should preserve all the treasures afforded to us by the Great Lakes -- from transportation and industry to environmental and sport.
"I also hope other Great Lakes lawmakers will join me in supporting a request I made to expand the emergency authority that Congress recently granted the U.S. Army Corps to address this threat as part of the 2010 energy and water appropriations package. I made this request for inclusion in the upcoming Water Resources Development Act, which I am hopeful Congress will consider this year."
Editor's note: On January 6, 2010, Biggert authored a letter signed by 20 members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation in support of the Illinois Attorney General's defense of Illinois in the Asian carp dispute with Michigan. To read the letter, click here.