WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and more than a dozen Great Lakes senators sent a letter to John Goss, Director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality Asian Carp, expressing their continued commitment to practical, immediate solutions to the threat of Asian carp and other invasive species to the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basin. Brown was joined on the letter by U.S. Sens. Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Dan Coats (R-IN), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Carl Levin (D-MI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Rob Portman (R-OH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Al Franken (D-MN), Bob Casey (D-PA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
“Lake Erie is important to the economy of Northern Ohio and the livelihood of its citizens,” Brown said. “The Administration must work with Congress to protect the Great Lakes and the thousands of fishing, boating, and recreation jobs that depend on them. In order to accomplish this, we need a coordinated effort between federal, state, and local governments and stakeholders to stop the spread of Asian carp. The White House’s leadership is important to this goal and helping to expedite this process.”
The Great Lakes Senators also requested Director Gross’ assistance in urging the Chicago Area Waterway System Advisory Committee to make recommendations for short-, medium-, and long-term solutions to safeguard the Great Lakes from Asian carp and other invasive species as soon as possible. The Advisory Committee is currently working with stakeholders in the region to identify solutions acceptable to all.
Brown continues to fight for the protection of Lake Erie from invasive species like Asian Carp. Earlier this month, following a hearing of the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works (EPW), Brown urged Congress to pass bipartisan legislation which is aimed at preserving the Great Lakes and bolstering economic growth throughout the Great Lakes region. Brown is the cosponsor of the Great Lakes Ecological and Economic Protection Act (GLEEPA), which the EPW Committee considered today. GLEEPA would protect the Great Lakes—and the millions of jobs they support—from a variety of ecological threats and invasive species like Asian carp. It would accomplish this by fully funding the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI).
Earlier this year, Brown helped secure more than $300 million in bipartisan Omnibus Bill funds for the GLRI. In May, Congress passed a critical water infrastructure bill that includes an amendment introduced by Brown that would help prevent the invasion of Asian carp into the Ohio and Upper Mississippi River Basins.
Brown’s and his colleagues’ letter to the White House Council on Environmental Quality can be read in its entirety below.
Mr. John Goss
Asian Carp Director
White House Council on Environmental Quality
722 Jackson Place, NW
Washington, DC 20503
Dear Mr. Goss:
We are writing in regard to the Army Corp of Engineers (Army Corps) Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study (GLMRIS). As Senators from Great Lakes states, we are committed to protecting these precious natural resources and appreciate the opportunity to engage with you to develop solutions to prevent the spread of Asian carp into these waters.
Authorized by Congress in the Water Resources Development Act of 2007, GLMRIS was intended to identify a range of options to prevent the transfer of aquatic nuisance species between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River Basins. As you know, the report released by the Army Corps on January 6, 2014, included several near-term alternatives, as well as more complex, multi-billion dollar, long-term projects, which continue to be debated.
While disagreements about prevention measures remain, the Asian carp threat persists, and urgent action is needed. The immediate path forward should include a set of short- and medium-term actions, which should be able to garner regional consensus more readily to strengthen protection for the Great Lakes. To facilitate this effort, we understand the Chicago Area Waterway System Advisory Committee is working with regional stakeholders to identify common ground regarding short-, medium-, and long-term efforts to safeguard the Great Lakes from Asian carp and other invasive species.
We look forward to hearing from the Advisory Committee on their recommendations. As the Asian Carp Director, we ask for your leadership to help guide a productive dialogue among all impacted stakeholders that includes a focus on practical, immediate solutions with broad support across all impacted stakeholders. We also ask for your leadership in encouraging the Advisory Committee to make recommendations as soon as possible, in particular regarding the short- and medium-term technologically feasible actions that maintain commercial navigation and recreational boating, preserve the integrity of existing flood control systems, protect water quality, and enjoy broad support. We also ask for your continued support in making progress toward identifying the best long-term solutions.
We appreciate the significant role you have played in leading the Asian carp management strategy over the past several years and look forward to continuing to work with you to protect the Great Lakes and the environment.