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Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

The House in Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union had under consideration the bill (H.R. 5325) making appropriations for energy and water development and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2013, and for other purposes:

Mr. QUIGLEY. Mr. Chair, since late 2009, the Army Corps of Engineers has been working on a study of the Great Lakes and Mississippi Interbasin--
``To evaluate options and technologies to prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River.''

Recently, the Corps indicated this study may not be completed until March 2016.

When it comes to aquatic invasive species, 7 years is 7 years too long.

Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio introduced and passed an amendment to the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Bill, ensuring that the Corps finishes their study no later than July 1, 2014.

Further, the amendment ensures that the Corps fully examines the feasibility of all options, including permanent hydrological separation.

I can't help but stand here today and express my sincere disappointment for the missed opportunities in the legislative vehicle before us.

The Energy and Water Appropriations bill that we consider on the House floor this week is not only missing this vital amendment, but its priorities are way out of whack.

The bill increases funding for the Nation's nuclear weapons stockpile, as well as for fossil fuels programs and nuclear energy research and development.
Meanwhile, funding would be reduced for a wide range of very important activities including: Army Corps of Engineers projects, Energy Department science programs, advanced energy research, defense and non-defense environmental cleanup activities, nuclear non-proliferation programs, and most renewable energy programs (including solar, wind, water and geothermal programs).

But, to the point at hand--the Great Lakes and the terrifying prospect that we might continue standing still on this issue of invasive species prevention.

First and foremost, I must recognize the hard work and bipartisan effort from the Senators, including Senator Durbin, and am hopeful that this provision is preserved throughout the appropriations process.

After all, this amendment does not tell anybody what to do.

It simply recognizes the urgency of the Asian carp threat to the Great Lakes and compels the Corps to quicken its study of solutions in the face of a potential catastrophe that no one wants.

The Great Lakes make up 20 percent of our fresh water and are home to a fishing and boating industry worth 7 billion dollars annually.

The Lakes are a priceless treasure for the millions of people who live in the region.

We must do all we can to encourage a speedy creation of an action plan to block Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes.

In 1998 the late Senator Paul Simon predicted wars would be fought over water.

Let us not pretend this is near as drastic as war.

But, at the same time, let us not neglect or fail to acknowledge that the importance of today's actions will weigh heavily on the successes of tomorrow. I urge the Committees to preserve and protect Senator Brown's amendment and hope that the final Energy and Water package looks far better for our land, air and water than it does today.

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