Monday, July 19, 2010

Senators Urge Expanded Corps Authority For Carp Control

Jul 15: Eight U.S. senators led by Senators Carl Levin, D-MI and George Voinovich, R-OH, co-chairs of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, have requested a legislative provision that would authorize the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to take emergency action to stop Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes via any connections with the Mississippi River Basin. They said the authority would extend to the possible flood zone between the Wabash River and the Maumee River in Indiana. The Army Corps currently has such emergency authority, but it is limited to the Chicago waterway system. 
    On June 25, following the first discovery of one Bighead Asian carp in Lake Calumet beyond the electronic barrier along the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS), many of the same Senators requested President Obama to name a Federal Coordinated Response Commander responsible for organizing efforts to contain the spread of Asian carp [See WIMS 6/28/10]. The Senators signing the current letter included: Senators George Voinovich (R-OH), Carl Levin (D-MI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Robert Casey (D-PA) and Roland Burris (D-IL). The letter was sent to: Senators Daniel Inouye, Chairman and the Thad Cochran, Vice Chairman Senate Committee on Appropriations; and, Byron  Dorgan, Chairman and Robert Bennett, Ranking Member Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development.
    The letter indicates, "In our March 26, 2010 Great Lakes Task Force letter, we requested that you include in the fiscal year 2011 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill certain Army Corps of Engineers projects that would improve the Great Lakes. As part of that letter was a request that you include the same bill language that was included in Section 126 of the Fiscal Year 2010 Energy and Water Appropriations bill authorizing the Army Corps to implement certain emergency measures to prevent Asian carp from bypassing the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal to keep them from entering the Great Lakes.

    "Last week, we learned, and EPA confirmed, that Asian Carp have been discovered in an area of the Wabash River in Indiana that is about 20 miles from a potential connection point with the Great Lakes basin. During times of flooding in an area near Fort Wayne, Indiana, the Wabash River could connect via tributaries and drainage ditches with the Maumee River, which flows into Lake Erie. This is of great concern to us.

    "In light of this discovery, as you draft the fiscal year 2011 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill, we ask that you include language similar to Section 126 of the fiscal year 2010 bill. The needed language would authorize the Army Corps to implement emergency measures to prevent the Asian Carp from entering the Great Lakes via any hydrologic connections that could occur during times of flooding, including via connections between the Wabash River and the Maumee River located in Indiana."

    Access a release from Senator Levin and link to the complete letter (click here).

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