The Permanent Prevention of Asian Carp Act received support from a welcome and some might say, unlikely, person this week –Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, who has weighed in on the latest and most important discussion in the Asian Carp crisis. Mayor Daley has written a letter to Congress expressing his support to accelerate a study that examines how to permanently separate the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins.
When Chicago reversed the flow of the Chicago River and connected the two basins, it created a pathway by which invasive species could infest U.S. waters. The Asian Carp is poised to join a list of invaders—alongside the zebra mussel and round goby—that has used the artificial connection to spread environmental and economic harm.
“The time is right for a comprehensive study to define a vision for the future of the Chicago area Waterway System which is exactly what this Bill calls for. I encourage you to pass it as quickly as is feasible,” Daley wrote to Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair James Oberstar.
Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) introduced the PPACA in the House and Senate respectively after a sexually mature Asian carp was found beyond the electronic fence intended to repel them and just miles from Lake Michigan. The legislation would force the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to complete a study in 18 months to determine how to separate the Mississippi River and Great Lakes watersheds. The bill also asks the U.S. Army Corps to identify shipping options that would not compromise hydrological separation and to detail the economic and ecological costs and benefits of separating the two iconic waters.
We are glad to have Mayor Daley in our corner. Now we need Illinois lawmakers in the House of Representatives to support the House bill. Their Senate colleagues—Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Roland Burris (D-Ill.)—have sponsored the legislation. Right now, only Michigan Members of Congress are signed on but this bill deserves the backing of the entire Great Lakes Congressional delegation—especially those in Illinois.
Please call the Capitol Hill Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask for your member to contact Adam Pradko in Rep. Camp’s office to cosponsor the bill.