Monday, April 23, 2012

Stabenow & Camp Introduce Stronger Asian Carp Control Bill

Apr 19: U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Representative Dave Camp (R-MI) introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to prevent Asian carp and other invasive species from entering the Great Lakes and destroying the Lakes' ecosystem. The Stop Invasive Species Act (S.2317 & H.R.4406) would require 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. 

    A bipartisan bill Senator Stabenow and Congressman Camp introduced last year, the Stop Asian Carp Act, required the Army Corps of Engineers to develop an action plan to permanently separate Lake Michigan from the Chicago Area Waterway System, long seen as the carp's primary entry point to the Great Lakes. The new bill goes further to require a plan to stop Asian carp at all potential entry points.

    Senator Stabenow said, "It has become clear that Asian carp are migrating throughout the Great Lakes region, and efforts to stop the spread of this invasive species must now address every possible point of entry. Asian carp pose a grave threat to Michigan's $7 billion fishing industry, $16 billion recreational boating industry and the entire Great Lakes ecosystem and we need action now. We can't afford to wait." Representative Camp said, "The threat Asian carp pose to the Great Lakes ecosystem and economy is urgent. This measure expedites the necessary hydrological separation study in order to protect the Great Lakes, the hundreds of thousands of jobs, the Great Lakes support."

    The bill would require the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to submit to Congress an expedited action plan with options for stopping Asian carp from penetrating the Great Lakes across 18 possible points of entry. The bill requires the Army Corps to submit a progress report to Congress and the President within 90 days of the law's enactment. The full plan would need to be completed within 18 months. Under the bill, the Army Corps would continue to examine modes of transportation across key waterways to ensure shipping could continue while mechanisms for preventing Asian carp from destroying the Great Lakes are implemented.

    According to a release, the bill is supported by the Great Lakes Commission, The Great Lakes Fishery Commission, Alliance for the Great Lakes, Healing our Waters Coalition, National Wildlife Federation and Trout Unlimited. Congressman Camp is joined by Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY) as the lead Democratic sponsor in the House. Senator Stabenow and Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) are leading the measure in the Senate, and are joined by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Carl Levin (D-MI), Robert Casey (D-PA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Amy Klobuchar  (D-MN), and Al Franken (D-MN).

    Access a joint release (click here). Access legislative details for S.2317 (click here); and H.R.4406 (click here).

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EPA Announces $20 Million For GLRI Projects In FY12

Apr 19: U.S. EPA announced that it is requesting applications from states, municipalities, tribes, universities and nonprofit organizations for new projects to restore and protect the Great Lakes. EPA indicated it will distribute approximately $20 million through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) grant program during Fiscal Year 2012. EPA Great Lakes National Program Manager Susan Hedman said, "These grants will support critical work to restore the Great Lakes, which provide drinking water to 30 million Americans and support a multi-billion dollar economy."

    Grants will be available on a competitive basis to fund a wide range of projects in the Great Lakes basin, including work to target invasive species, to protect public health, and to reduce the impact of toxic substances and nonpoint source pollution.
Hedman said, "The work funded by these grants will protect waters that are essential to the health and jobs of millions of Americans." Applications are due by 11:59 PM on, May 24. Webinars on the application process will be held at 2 PM on, May 3, and at 10 AM on, May 14.
    Access a release from EPA (click here). Access more information about applying for EPA's GLRI grants in the 2012 Request for Applications (click here). Access more information about the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (click here).
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