Congressman Brian Higgins led a coalition of 15 of his House of Representatives colleagues in sending a letter urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers to heed the warnings of a recent report published by American and Canadian scientists with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The report identifies the invasion of the Great Lakes by Asian Carp as a more imminent threat than initially realized.
“The entry of Asian Carp into the Great Lakes would be devastating, both to the ecology of the Great Lakes region and to local economies,” said Congressman Higgins, a member of the Great Lakes Task Force. “Keeping our waterways clean and healthy is a federal responsibility and the time to act is now.”
Congressman Higgins also spoke on the House Floor to remind his colleagues of the urgency of protecting the Great Lakes.
(To access video click above or go to: http://youtu.be/GuWYkeWw7zc)
The 15 Members to join Congressman Higgins in sending the letter are: Representative David Camp, Representative Hansen Clarke, Representative John Conyers, Representative Kathy Hochul, Representative Marcy Kaptur, Representative Dennis Kucinich, Representative Steve LaTourette, Representative Robert Latta, Representative Gary Peters, Representative Mike Quigley, Representative Mike Rogers, Representative Paul Ryan, Representative Betty Sutton, Representative Fred Upton, and Representative Tim Walberg.
The text of the Members’ letter is below:
Dear Secretary Jackson and Lt. Gen. Bostick:
We write to bring to your attention the Binational Ecological Risk Assessment of Bigheaded Carps for the Great Lakes Basin, a peer-reviewed report by American and Canadian scientists with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
This report sheds valuable light on the disastrous consequences Bigheaded Carp (Asian Carp) pose to the Great Lakes and warns of the imminence of their irreversible introduction into the Great Lakes. It calls for immediate prevention activities to parallel our ongoing long-term efforts to reduce the probability of introduction into the Great Lakes.
This report identifies the Chicago Area Waterway System as the most likely entry point of the Asian Carp into the Great Lakes. The recent decision by the United States Army Corps of Engineers to accelerate its study of how to prevent the spread of these invasive species between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds was significant. And, the inclusion of the Stop Invasive Species Act in the transportation authorization bill recently signed into law was also crucial. However, the alarming discovery of six positive eDNA samples for Asian Carp in Lake Erie underscores the need for broader, more aggressive – indeed immediate – action to interrupt this invasion and subsequent ecological consequences.
The establishment of the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee, the vast resources the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has devoted, and works done by non-governmental organizations, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Army Corps of Engineers, and several other federal and state agencies efforts are evidence of the broad recognition of the scope of this threat. Still, this report’s conclusions highlight that while all parties realize the size of the threat, they may not grasp the immediacy with which we must act.
As Members of Congress who represent areas within the Great Lakes Basin that rely on its irreplaceable natural resources, we support the findings of this study and strongly urge immediate action to reduce the threat of Asian Carp and its economic, environmental, and ecological consequences.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.