The Defending Our Great Lakes Act
WASHINGTON - Since its introduction, U.S. Representative Candice Miller's (MI-10) proposed Asian carp legislation, H.R. 1135 the Defending Our Great Lakes Act of 2015, has gained nation-wide support.
National Wildlife Federation
“Our Great Lakes are facing one of the greatest invasive species threats in decades: Asian carp. They are voracious filter feeders that can grow to more than four feet long, weigh up to 100 pounds and quickly dominate a body of water by gobbling up the same food that sustains native fish populations. ..The Defending Our Great Lakes Act will set us on the right path toward addressing a permanent solution to this threat to our quality of life.”
3/9/2015 - Mike Shriberg, Executive Director of the National Wildlife Federation's Great Lakes Regional Center
Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition
“We agree that the Great Lakes represent an invaluable, irreplaceable resource for our region and its economy. We applaud your efforts to protect the hundreds of thousands of jobs tied to the Great Lakes region’s $7 billion recreational fishing and $16 billion recreational boating industries. Over the past thirty years, we have restored our Great Lakes, preserving them as one of our nation’s most precious natural and economic resources. The threat of Asian Carp is real and imminent. We thank you for your efforts to prevent the interbasin transfer of aquatic invasive species and we thank you for your leadership on this issue.”
3/16/2015 - Ed Wolking, Jr., Director of Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition
Michigan Trout Unlimited
“Michigan Trout Unlimited is writing you today, to express our support for the Defending Our Great Lakes Act of 2015. Our members and citizens of Michigan are poised to suffer profoundly from the introduction of Asian Carp and other invasive species into our waters. If these fish are allowed to invade, our Michigan-based, 4 billion dollar per year fisheries will be in severe jeopardy, with cascading economic hardships for hundreds of thousands of people. We’ve all been frustrated over the past few years, as the complexity of addressing this threat has slowed identification and implementation of a solution. However, throughout that, we’ve taken pride, as we do now, in seeing the leadership demonstrated by our Michigan elected officials, in pushing for action. We appreciate this leadership you are demonstrating now and fully support this legislative effort,”
3/16/2015 - Dr. Bryan Burroughs, Executive Director of Michigan Trout Unlimited
Michigan United Conservation Clubs
“Invasive species pose a tremendous threat to not only Michigan’s fisheries, outdoor recreation and tourism economy, but also the Great Lakes region. Michigan’s recreational fisheries generate over $2.5 billion each year and support nearly 38,000 jobs in Michigan alone. The Great Lakes region supports a $7 billion fishing industry and a $16 billion boating industry. It is imperative that we continue to take steps to protect our world-class fisheries and the Great Lakes economy.
“This legislation seeks to address the short-term needs of preventing the spread of Asian carp through the Branden Road Lock and Dam in Illinois. It is our hope that this legislation will allow the Army Corps of Engineers to use the best possible technology and methods to implement short term fixes to slow the spread of Asian carp while still working on the necessary long term, permanent solutions.”
3/17/2015 - Daniel Eichinger, Michigan United Conservation Clubs Executive Director
Alliance for the Great Lakes
“We write to thank you for your bipartisan introduction of the Defending our Great Lakes Act. We support the Act not only because of the need for expeditious short-term measures to slow the movement of Asian carp and other aquatic invasive species (AIS), but also because building regional support for this bill will help ensure movement toward an effective long-term solution.
“The Great Lakes feed an economy rivaling that of nations. It is indisputable that if Asian carp are allowed to enter into the Great Lakes Basin, their impact on the $7 billion recreational and commercial fishing and $16 billion recreational boating industries would prove devastating. The Act’s call for swift action to implement much-needed, short-term AIS risk reduction control technologies at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam site on the Des Plaines River in Illinois is critical.”
3/18/2015 - Joel Brammeier, President and CEO of the Alliance for the Great Lakes
Natural Resources Defense Council
“The Act calls for swift action to protect the Great Lakes through implementation of control technologies for aquatic invasive species at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam site in Illinois. We believe this site will provide important near term risk reduction to Lake Michigan. We also applaud the Act’s requirement that efforts to control aquatic invasive species also protect the high value, critical ecosystem at this site. …NRDC thanks you for your commitment to implementing expeditious measures to prevent Asian carp and other invasive species from threatening our nation’s most important fresh water resource. We also deeply appreciate your work to build consensus among members and stakeholders.”
3/20/2015 - Henry Henderson, Midwest Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council
Sierra Club - Illinois Chapter
“The Act’s call for swift action to implement short-term aquatic invasive species (AIS) risk reduction control technologies is critical. We understand that the Brandon Road Lock and Dam site is a sensible location for establishing a single point to control the one-way, upstream transfer of AIS from the Mississippi River basin into the Great Lakes basin. … We deeply appreciate all of the work that has gone into this bill, which is a firm step towards protecting our invaluable freshwater resources from the introduction of AIS. We are also grateful for your efforts to build broad support for the bill among stakeholders and legislators and stand ready to help in this effort.”
3/31/2015 - Katrina Phillips, Clean Water Organizer
Senator Stabenow, Congresswoman Miller Introduce Bipartisan Bills to Stop Asian Carp
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Congresswoman Candice Miller (R-MI) today introduced bipartisan legislation to stop Asian carp and other invasive species from entering the Great Lakes, which put hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk. Invasive species pose a grave threat to the Great Lakes ecosystem and the region’s $7 billion recreational fishing and $16 billion recreational boating industries. TheDefending Our Great Lakes Act will give federal agencies broad authority to take immediate actions to stop the spread of Asian carp and other invasive species. This legislation will also require key agencies to work with regional stakeholders to institute long-term measures to stop the spread of invasive species between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins.
Sen. Stabenow is Co-Chair of the bipartisan Senate Great Lakes Task Force. In 2012, her Stop Invasive Species Act was signed into law. This expedited the completion of the Army Corps of Engineers’ report, known as the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study (GLMRIS). The report outlined strategies to permanently prevent Asian carp and other invasive species from entering the Great Lakes. The legislation introduced today directs the Army Corp and federal agencies to implement some of the specific strategies outlined in this report and to coordinate with regional stakeholders on other long-term solutions.
“Finding a solution to the threat from Asian carp and other invasive species is not easy,” said Senator Stabenow. “Working alongside members of the Michigan delegation and a wide range of stakeholders, including other Great Lakes lawmakers, our bill is our best chance of halting these fish as they come through the Chicago waterway.”
Rep. Miller, a life-long advocate of the Great Lakes, authored House legislation in 2014 to stop Asian carp. She also serves as the only member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure from Michigan and plays an integral role in ensuring legislative initiatives, like the recently-enacted Water Resources Reform and Development Act, include provisions that protect the Great Lakes from Asian carp.
“We cannot afford to take a cavalier approach when it comes to protecting our Great Lakes from Asian carp,” Miller noted. “This destructive species is quickly migrating north, destroying nearly every ecosystem along the way. In fact, just this week, we learned that the Illinois Department of Natural Resources has identified nearly 30 of these aggressive fish just south of the Brandon Road Lock and Dam, which is why this bipartisan, bicameral legislation I am working with Senator Stabenow to advance is so important.”
“Most stakeholders agree that an invasive species inhibiting structure at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam can and should be achieved as soon as possible," said Michigan State University professor William Taylor, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission's U.S. Section Chair. "This legislation seeks the art of the possible by addressing the most immediate opportunities first while not easing up on the pursuit of innovative, permanent, long-term solutions. I commend Senator Stabenow and Congresswoman Miller for their unrelenting work to stanch the tide of invasive species that cost billions of dollars in damage to the US and Canada each year.”
The Defending Our Great Lakes Act gives the Army Corps of Engineers authority to take near-term and long-term actions to prevent the spread of invasive species at a critical control point near the western end of the Chicago Area Waterway System—the Brandon Road Lock and Dam. The GLMRIS report called for the construction of an engineered channel to put control technologies in place like additional electric barriers, carbon dioxide bubble screens, underwater sound canons and pheromones at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam. The Army Corps of Engineers announced in December that they are evaluating which technologies will be most effective at keeping invasive species out of the Great Lakes Basin. This bill gives the Corps the flexibility to choose from all of their available options prior to making a decision.
Under the Defending Our Great Lakes Act, the Army Corps of Engineers will be required to lead federal efforts to prevent the spread of Asian carp and other invasive species in coordination with local, state, and regional officials in consultation with the business and environmental communities. The Army Corps of Engineers will be required to report to Congress within 18 months and each year thereafter.
There are 12 additional members of the Michigan delegation who are original cosponsors of the bill, including Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) and Representatives Dan Benishek (R-MI), Mike Bishop (R-MI), John Conyers (D-MI), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Bill Huizenga (R-MI), Dan Kildee (D-MI), Sandy Levin (D-MI), John Moolenaar (R-MI), Dave Trott (R-MI), Fred Upton (R-MI) and Tim Walberg (R-MI).
Other original cosponsors include Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Al Franken (D-MN), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Rob Portman (R-OH), Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Representatives Sean Duffy (R-WI), David Joyce (R-OH), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Robert E. Latta (R-OH), Rick Nolan (D-MN), and Louise Slaughter (D-NY).
This legislation is supported by the Great Lakes Commission, Great Lakes Fishery Commission, National Wildlife Federation, Great Lakes Metro Chamber of Commerce, Healing our Waters Coalition, Alliance for the Great Lakes, Michigan Trout Unlimited, Michigan United Conservation Clubs.