Senate Committee Acts to Stop Asian Carp Invasion

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow today applauded the unanimous, bipartisan committee passage of a key provision based on legislation that she and Congressman Dave Camp introduced last week, the bipartisan Stop Invasive Species Act. The Senate Appropriations Committee passed a provision today offered by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) that would, like Senator Stabenow and Congressman Camp’s legislation, require the speedy creation of an action plan to block Asian carp and other invasive species from entering the Great Lakes through a number of rivers and tributaries across the Great Lakes region.

The measure passed today requires the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to complete the action plan by July 2014— as opposed to late 2015 or 2016 like the Army Corps has suggested (without congressional action, the Corp report could come even later, as there is currently no legal deadline for the Corp to complete its plan). Senator Stabenow said that she would continue to push for even quicker action to stop Asian carp.

“We need action now to stop Asian carp and other invasive species from devastating our Great Lakes ecosystem and our economy,” said Senator Stabenow. “Committee passage of this provision just a week after we introduced our bill is very promising. I will continue leading the bipartisan effort to require action even more quickly. We cannot afford to wait.”

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.

Under the Stop Invasive Species Act, 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.

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.

Senator Stabenow and Rob Portman (R-OH) are leading the measure in the Senate, and are joined by Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Carl Levin (D-Royal Oak, MI), Robert Casey (D-PA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Al Franken (D-MN). Congressman Camp is joined by Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY) as the lead Democratic sponsor in the House.