WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) reiterated his concerns for the Great Lakes after a silver carp was found above the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Electric Fish Dispersal Barrier – which is the last barrier before Lake Michigan – for the first time since 2010.
The news comes just days after the State of the Great Lakes 2017 Report described Lake Erie as “in poor condition” and “deteriorating.”
“It’s clear: now is not the time to take away the tools that help us protect our Great Lakes,” said Brown. “Between this carp sighting and news that the Lake’s health is declining, it is a bad week for our Great Lakes. We’ve got to double down on our efforts to protect Lake Erie and the jobs it supports. That means staying vigilant and standing strong in bipartisan opposition to the elimination of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative proposed by the Administration.”
In addition to Brown’s leadership in opposing the elimination of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), just yesterday, Brown introduced bipartisan legislation aimed at keeping invasive Asian carp out of the Lakes. Brown met with Lake Erie stakeholders in Toledo Monday.
The Stop Asian Carp Now Act would compel the Trump Administration to release the Brandon Road Study within seven days of the bill’s enactment. Asian carp represent a serious economic and environmental threat to the Great Lakes, and this report is a critical next step in finding and implementing a solution. The Brandon Road Lock and Dam study will provide important guidance on how best to prevent Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes and is an important hurdle before further action can be taken. The report has already been delayed by the Trump Administration from its expected release in February of this year. Once the report is released a public comment period can begin, and further action can be decided in an open and transparent way.
In 2015, Brown supported the Defending Our Great Lakes Act, to encourage the implementation of more water quality and flood mitigation projects as part of Asian carp prevention efforts. The legislation sought collaboration between the Great Lakes Interagency Task Force (IATF) – a collection of 11 U.S. Cabinet and federal agency heads, led by the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – and state and local flood and water quality agencies, to ensure the implementation of more of these projects.
In May, Brown blasted President Trump’s budget for eliminating the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), a highly successful program that jumpstarted efforts to protect, maintain and restore the integrity of the Great Lakes. The budget also reduces funding for agricultural conservation programs and eliminates the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Sea Grant Program, which funds Ohio State Stone Lab on Lake Erie. Stone Lab plays a critical role in monitoring and protecting Lake Erie.
Last Congress, Brown cosponsored the Great Lakes Ecological and Economic Protection Act of 2015 (GLEEPA) – a bill that would reauthorize the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and codify the program into statute. In December, Brown successfully fought to include authorization for GLRI in the Senate water bill.