U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow and Congressman Dave Camp, sponsors of legislation to speed up the creation of a plan to protect the Great Lakes from Asian carp, today welcomed the Army Corps of Engineers announcement to accelerate its efforts to block the damaging invasive species. Following the introduction of Senator Stabenow and Congressman Camp's legislation, the Army Corps has now announced that it will complete a set of options for permanent barriers to stop Asian carp and other invasive species in 2013, years ahead of schedule.
"This is a good step forward in the fight to stop Asian carp," Senator Stabenow said. "I am pleased the Army Corps has agreed that efforts to stop Asian carp must be accelerated. There is still much work to do before permanent barriers are completed, but having action moved years ahead of schedule is a very positive development."
"I am glad we are reaching consensus that the GLMRIS study needs to be concluded. But this is only a first step. Last week's temporary failure of the electric barriers show we need to begin implementing a permanent solution as soon as possible to prevent Asian carp from destroying the Great Lakes ecosystem and the $7 billion dollar economy they support," said Congressman Camp.
The Army Corps is currently charged with creating an action plan to block Asian carp and other invasive species from entering the Great Lakes through a number of rivers and tributaries-but had previously said it would not complete the plan or any portions of it until late 2015 or even beyond. Senator Stabenow and Congressman Camp previously introduced identical legislation in their respective chambers of Congress, the Stop Invasive Species Act, to require the plan be completed within 18 months. Today the Army Corps announced it would provide Congress with options for methods of blocking Asian carp and other invasive species from entering the Great Lakes next year.
An amendment based on the Stabenow-Camp legislation passed the Senate Appropriations Committee on April 26.
Last week, a power outage and equipment failure rendered the electronic barriers in the Chicago Waterway that currently protect against carp inoperable, leaving the Great Lakes unprotected from an Asian carp infestation-underscoring just how urgent it is that Senator Stabenow and Congressman Camp's calls for accelerated action be heard.
Senator Stabenow and Congressman Camp's legislation is supported by a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) is the leading Republican cosponsor of the bill in the Senate, with Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Carl Levin (D-MI), Robert Casey (D-PA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Al Franken (D-MN) cosponsoring as well. Congressman Camp is joined by Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY) as the lead Democratic sponsor in the House.
The bill is also 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.