Casey, Great Lakes Senators Urge Action on Asian Carp Threat

Senators Highlight Importance of Regional Stakeholders Finding Common Ground on Efforts to Prevent Spread of Invasive Species

Casey, Great Lakes Senators Urge Action on Asian Carp Threat

Washington, DC –Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) along with Senators Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Mark Kirk (R-IL), Dan Coats (R-IN), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Carl Levin (D-MI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Rob Portman (R-OH), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Al Franken (D-MN),  Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) sent a letter to White House Council on Environmental Quality Asian Carp Director John Goss expressing their continued commitment to practical, immediate solutions to the threat of Asian carp and other invasive species to the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basin.

The Senators wrote, “While disagreements about prevention measures remain, the Asian carp threat persists, and urgent action is needed. The immediate path forward should include a set of short- and medium-term actions, which should be able to garner regional consensus more readily to strengthen protection for the Great Lakes…As the Asian Carp Director, we ask for your leadership to help guide a productive dialogue among all impacted stakeholders that includes a focus on practical, immediate solutions with broad support across all impacted stakeholders.”

The Great Lakes Senators also requested Director Goss’s assistance in urging the Chicago Area Waterway System Advisory Committee to make recommendations for short-, medium-, and long-term solutions to safeguard the Great Lakes from Asian carp and other invasive species as soon as possible. The Advisory Committee is currently working with stakeholders in the region to identify solutions acceptable to all.

Full text of the letter is below:

Mr. John Goss

Asian Carp Director

White House Council on Environmental Quality

722 Jackson Place, NW

Washington, DC 20503

Dear Mr. Goss:

We are writing in regard to the Army Corp of Engineers (Army Corps) Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study (GLMRIS). As Senators from Great Lakes states, we are committed to protecting these precious natural resources and appreciate the opportunity to engage with you to develop solutions to prevent the spread of Asian carp into these waters.

Authorized by Congress in the Water Resources Development Act of 2007, GLMRIS was intended to identify a range of options to prevent the transfer of aquatic nuisance species between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River Basins. As you know, the report released by the Army Corps on January 6, 2014, included several near-term alternatives, as well as more complex, multi-billion dollar, long-term projects, which continue to be debated.

While disagreements about prevention measures remain, the Asian carp threat persists, and urgent action is needed. The immediate path forward should include a set of short- and medium-term actions, which should be able to garner regional consensus more readily to strengthen protection for the Great Lakes. To facilitate this effort, we understand the Chicago Area Waterway System Advisory Committee is working with regional stakeholders to identify common ground regarding short-, medium-, and long-term efforts to safeguard the Great Lakes from Asian carp and other invasive species.

We look forward to hearing from the Advisory Committee on their recommendations.  As the Asian Carp Director, we ask for your leadership to help guide a productive dialogue among all impacted stakeholders that includes a focus on practical, immediate solutions with broad support across all impacted stakeholders. We also ask for your leadership in encouraging the Advisory Committee to make recommendations as soon as possible, in particular regarding the short- and medium-term technologically feasible actions that maintain commercial navigation and recreational boating, preserve the integrity of existing flood control systems, protect water quality, and enjoy broad support.  We also ask for your continued support in making progress toward identifying the best long-term solutions.

We appreciate the significant role you have played in leading the Asian carp management strategy over the past several years and look forward to continuing to work with you to protect the Great Lakes and the environment.

Sincerely,

U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN)

U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL)

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)

U.S. Senator Carl Levin (D-MI)

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-MN)

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH)

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL)

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)

U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA)

U.S. Senator Dan Coats (R-IN)

U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI)

U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH)

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) 

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Press Contact

John Rizzo 202-228-6367