The U.S. Senate and House today introduced new bills aimed at combating the spread of Asian carp into the Great Lakes. The legislation directs the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to complete within 18 months its study on how to separate the Great Lakes and Mississippi watersheds to block the advance of the non-native Asian carp. The voracious fish are within miles of Lake Michigan. Scientists fear that an Asian carp invasion into the Great Lakes could devastate the region’s $7 billion sport and commercial fishery.
The legislation, the Stop Invasive Species Act of 2012 (S. 2317 and H.R. 4406), was introduced by U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Kirsten Gillibrand D-N.Y.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.); and Reps. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.).
The legislation updates the Stop Asian Carp Act of 2011, which was introduced last year.
Responding to the legislation, Jeff Skelding, campaign director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, said:
“We applaud Sens. Stabenow, Durbin, Brown, and Portman, Reps. Camp and Slaughter and their Democratic and Republican colleagues for introducing this important bill. Beating back Asian carp is essential to restoring the Great Lakes. Over the last three years, the U.S. Congress and President Obama have made historic investments to restore the Lakes. We’re seeing results, but there’s more work to do. Allowing Asian carp to take hold in the Lakes will set back restoration efforts—which is why confronting the Asian carp crisis needs to remain a top priority for all public officials. We look forward to working with Congress to pass this vital legislation.”
The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition consists of more than 120 environmental, conservation, outdoor recreation organizations, zoos, aquariums and museums representing millions of people, whose common goal is to restore and protect the Great Lakes.