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Thu March 3, 2011
Michigan lawmakers to introduce Asian carp legislation
Update 2:50 p.m.:
Asian Carp have spent the past few decades slowly spreading throughout the Mississippi River watershed. The invasive carp have destroyed indigenous fish populations from Missouri to Illinois. One was caught last year just a few miles downstream from Lake Michigan.
The US Army Corps of Engineers wants to spend the next five years developing a plan to keep the carp out of the Great Lakes. Not fast enough for Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow.
“We have to have a sense of urgency about it. The Army Corps is studying this issue now, but it’s going to take them several years…we don’t have several years. We need to get this done as quickly as possible.”
Recently, Illinois politicians have fought efforts to close canals linking Lake Michigan to carp infested waters near Chicago. But Illinois Senator Dick Durbin supports expediting a carp action plan, making its passage more probable. Though Durbin’s involvement also hints closing canals will not be part of the plan.
Stabenow says she doesn’t know how much it will cost to ‘separate’ the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watershed. But she says Asian Carp could cost the economy of the Great Lakes billions of dollars if they are not stopped.
Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow and Michigan Republican Congressman Dave Camp plan to introduce legislation to block Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes through Chicago-area waterways, the Associated Press reports. Stabenow and Camp will hold a news conference today to discuss their plans. The AP reports:
Stabenow and Camp previously sponsored bills that would have forced closure of shipping locks near Chicago that could provide access to Lake Michigan for the invasive carp. Those measures failed.
The House recently rejected Camp's effort to attach a lock closure amendment to a federal spending bill.
Michigan and four other states are suing in federal court to close the locks. Chicago business interests say doing so would damage their local economy and probably wouldn't do much to stop the carp anyway.