WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) released the following statement today in advance of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study Public Meeting—hosted by the White House— in Cincinnati today:

“When it comes to Asian Carp, it’s critical that the White House hear directly from affected Ohioans,” Brown said. “Listening sessions like today’s are a step in the right direction, but we can’t lose focus on our top priority: keeping the Asian carp out of the Great Lakes as well as the Upper Ohio River and its tributaries. An Asian carp invasion would seriously threaten the livelihood of millions of Ohioans who rely on these waters’ multi-billion dollar fishing and tourism industry for their livelihood. That’s why I will continue to fight for passage of the CARP Act which will ensure that Ohio’s ecosystems – and our region’s economic development – are not jeopardized by an influx of Asian carp.”

White House Council on Environmental Quality held a meeting at the University of Cincinnati’s Tangeman University Center to discuss the Obama Administration’s Asian Carp Control Strategy Framework. The public meeting, hosted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, provided the public an opportunity to comment on the Corps’ Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study (GLIMRIS).  The GLIMRIS study is one component of this multi-tiered, unprecedented approach to defeating invasive species.

Asian carp is an invasive species that would threaten the ecosystem of Lake Erie. Researchers have found that in many sections of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers, Asian carp are the only species present. More than 185 species of fish, mussels, and plants from Asia and Eastern Europe are already in the Great Lakes system, choking out native species.

In December, the President signed the Asian Carp Prevention and Control Act, which adds the bighead carp species of Asian carp to a list of injurious species that are prohibited from being imported or shipped in the United States under the Lacey Act.

Brown is fighting to pass the CARP Act, legislation aimed at preventing the potential migration of Asian carp from the Mississippi River into the Great Lakes. In May, Brown visited the University of Toledo's Lake Erie Center to discuss efforts to combat Asian carp, and in December 2009, Brown signed a letter urging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to address the spread of Asian carp. He helped pass the Great Lakes Water Resources Compact, which establishes common stewardship goals for the Great Lakes and a common set of rules that will be followed by the eight Great Lakes states. He also fought to include more than $475 million in the Fiscal Year 2010 budget for Great Lakes cleanup, of which nearly $60 million has been devoted to initiatives aimed at preventing an influx of Asian carp.