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GLIN==> Great Lakes Commission urges swift enactment of Asian carp bill



Title: Great Lakes Commission urges swift enactment of Asian carp bill

Great Lakes Commission urges swift enactment of Asian carp bill

Contact: Katherine Glassner-Shwayder, 734-971-9135, shwayder@glc.org

New legislation introduced in Congress to authorize and complete an electronic barrier to protect the Great Lakes from invasive Asian carp should be swiftly enacted before its too late, the Great Lakes Commission is urging.

The Great Lakes Asian Carp Barrier Act, introduced separately by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Rep. Judy Biggert (R-Ill. 13th) in their respective chambers, directs the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to complete, at federal expense, an electronic barrier in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal designed to prevent Asian carp from migrating upstream into Lake Michigan and the rest of the Great Lakes. The proposed legislation (S. 336 and H.R. 553) also directs that a smaller, temporary barrier be upgraded to provide an additional measure of protection and provides for the entire system’s ongoing operation and maintenance.

“The Great Lakes Commission applauds Sen. Durbin and Rep. Biggert for their leadership in promptly bringing this critical legislation before the new Congress,” said Michigan Lt. Gov. John Cherry, chair of the Great Lakes Commission. “This is truly an example of bipartisan cooperation for the good of our region and our lakes, and I am pleased that Senators Levin and Stabenow, as well as Democrats and Republicans in Michigan and other Great Lakes states, are cosponsoring the bill.  The Commission urges Congress and the president to quickly enact it.”

Previous authorizations for the Asian carp barrier have been tied up in the renewal of the long-delayed Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which has stalled in the last several sessions of Congress. The new legislation would authorize the barrier immediately, and avoid tying the fate of this important project to WRDA. The legislation also would compensate states for their contributions to the project and provide for additional research into controlling Asian carp and other invasive species.

“The Great Lakes are one of our nation's most important natural resources, and the invasive Asian Carp must be stopped,” said Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn, vice chair of the Great Lakes Commission and head of its Illinois Delegation. “It is imperative that we pass this legislation to protect our water resources, and I salute Sen. Durbin and Congresswoman Biggert for their efforts.”

Others who have played important roles in developing this legislation include Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio), Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill. 5th), Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill. 10th), Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich. 3rd) and Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich. 15th).

Asian carp, which can reach more than 100 lbs. in size, were originally imported for algae control in southern fish farms, but escaped into the Mississippi River in the early 1990s during floods. Since then, they have been making their way north and have been found in the Illinois River, which connects to the Great Lakes via the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. Voracious eaters, it is feared they could upset the Great Lakes food chain and cause catastrophic damage to native species and decimate one of the world’s great sports fisheries.

Contact: Katherine Glassner-Shwayder, 734-971-9135, shwayder@glc.org

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Co-sponsors to date include:

Sen. Evan Bayh (IN)
Sen. Herb Kohl (WI)
Sen. Carl Levin (MI)
Sen. Richard Lugar (IN)
Sen. Barack Obama (IL)
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (MI)
Sen. George Voinovich (OH)

Rep. Dave Camp (MI-4)
Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (MI-14)
Rep. John Dingell (MI-15)
Rep. Vernon Ehlers (MI-3)
Rep. Rahm Emanuel (IL-5)
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (IL-4)
Rep. Brian Higgins (NY-27)
Rep. Peter Hoekstra (MI-2)
Rep. Marcy Kaptur (OH-9)
Rep. Dale Kildee (MI-5) 
Rep. Mark Steven Kirk (IL-10)
Rep. Sander Levin (MI-12)
Rep. Daniel Lipinski (IL-3)
Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (MI-11)
Rep. John McHugh (NY-23)
Rep. Candice Miller (MI-10)
Rep. Thomas Petri (WI-6)
Rep. Thomas Reynolds (NY-26)
Rep. Mike Rogers (MI-8)
Rep. Louise McIntosh Slaughter (NY-28)
Rep. Bart Stupak  (MI-1)
Rep. Betty Sutton  (OH-13)
Rep. Fred Upton (MI-6)
Rep. James Walsh (NY-25)

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The Great Lakes Commission, chaired by Michigan Lt. Gov. John Cherry, is a nonpartisan, binational compact agency established under state and U.S. federal law and dedicated to promoting a strong economy, healthy environment and high quality of life for the Great LakesSt. Lawrence region and its residents. The Commission consists of governors’ appointees, state legislators and agency officials from its eight member states. Associate membership for Ontario and Québec was established through the signing of a “Declaration of Partnership.” The Commission maintains a formal Observer program involving U.S. and Canadian federal agencies, tribal authorities, binational agencies and other regional interests. The Commission offices are located in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Great Lakes Commission

The Hon. John D. Cherry, Jr., Chair; Tim A. Eder, Executive Director

Eisenhower Corporate Park 2805 S. Industrial Hwy. Suite 100 Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104-6791

734-971-9135 Fax: 734-971-9150 Web: www.glc.org

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