WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Cleveland Plain Dealer this weekend commended the passage of Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Debbie Stabenow’s (D-MI) bipartisan legislation to prevent Asian carp and other invasive species from entering the Great Lakes. The Stop Invasive Species Act requires the speedy creation of an action plan to block Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes through a number of rivers and tributaries across the Great Lakes region. Representatives Dave Camp (R-MI) and Louise Slaughter (D-NY) introduced the companion legislation in the House.
Article is included below. Actual article can be found here.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer
Bill provides a needed push to stop carp from invading Great Lakes
By Editorial Board
July 6, 2012
Congress is again goosing a waffling White House and a dawdling U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to work faster on strategies to protect the Great Lakes from the silver and bighead carp.
The bipartisan Stop Invasive Species Act swam through Congress with relative ease. President Barack Obama signed it into law Friday as part of the massive federal transportation, student loan and flood insurance bill. It expands on earlier legislation requiring the Army Corps to expedite work on the hydrological separation of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins.
It directs the Corps to work more single-mindedly to prevent the voracious filter-feeding carp from accessing the continent's largest freshwater ecosystem through 18 rivers and tributaries, and demands a progress report within 90 days of its enactment.
Ohio's bipartisan leadership was critical to the bill. A key Senate sponsor was Republican Rob Portman, and co-sponsors included Democrat Sherrod Brown. In the House, Republican Rep. Steve LaTourette of Bainbridge Township and Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge of Warrensville Heights were among the co-sponsors.
Congress understands the need to halt these plankton predators before they lay waste to the Great Lakes' multibillion-dollar commercial and sports fishing industry and the 800,000 jobs it supports. But urgency is required.
The Army Corps' latest report on water sample testing from the Chicago Sanitary and Shipping Canal again calls into question the effectiveness of its electric barriers.
In 2011, the Corps took 2,378 water samples beyond the three barriers and found evidence of Asian carp DNA in 34 -- about 1.4 percent. This year, the Corps has taken 114 samples beyond the barriers, with 17 positives, or nearly 15 percent.
That suggests more carp are getting past the barriers and closing in on Lake Michigan. Obama has yet to publicly acknowledge their presence, but Congress knows the carp are swimming and it's ready to put partisan politics aside in the greater public interest.