Monday, July 2, 2012

Stop Invasive Species Act On Its Way To President's Desk

Jun 29: Bipartisan legislation to stop Asian carp from destroying the Great Lakes' ecosystem passed both houses of Congress today and is now poised to become law. The Stop Invasive Species Act (S.2317 & H.R.4406) [See WIMS 4/23/12], written by U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Representative Dave Camp (R-MI) and supported by Members of Congress in both parties, would require the expedited creation of a plan to block Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes through a number of rivers and tributaries across the Great Lakes region. The bill was included as part of comprehensive, bipartisan transportation legislation.

    Senator Stabenow said, "Michigan needs action now to stop Asian carp and other invasive species from devastating our Great Lakes and the hundreds of thousands of jobs that depend on them. Temporary fixes have proven inadequate and this dangerous invasive species is now on the Great Lakes' doorstep. Congress must pass this bill to require quick action on a permanent solution to stop Asian carp." Representative Camp said, "It's a great day for the Great Lakes. We're finally moving toward an actionable plan to permanently prevent Asian carp from destroying the Great Lakes and the $7 billion fishing industry and 800,000 jobs they support. Before, we've had temporary fixes; this legislation puts us on the path towards a lasting solution."

    The Stop Invasive Species Act requires 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, meaning the Corps would have to complete its work sometime in 2013.

    After Stabenow and Camp introduced their legislation, the Army Corps voluntarily said they would expedite the creation of a plan for permanent solutions for stopping Asian carp [See WIMS 5/8/12]. While that announcement was welcome news, the Corps' plan would not present fully completed solutions, and it would focus primarily on the Chicago Waterway System, rather than all of the carp's 18 possible points of entry. The Stop Invasive Species Act requires a completed plan, with proposed solutions for all 18 possible entry ways.  The plan would include proposals for engineering and infrastructure projects to block Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes while still allowing shipping transportation across these waterways to continue.

    Access a release from Sen. Stabenow and Rep. Camp that includes comments from other Great Lakes legislators (click here). Access legislative details for S.2317 (click here); and H.R.4406 (click here).

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