Members of congress from seven Great Lakes states on Friday asked President Donald Trump to release a plan to slow the infiltration of Asian carp into the Great Lakes and nearby freshwater lakes and rivers.
A draft report for fighting the invasive species at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam project near Joliet, Ill., was due to be released by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on February 28, but was delayed at the last hour at the direction of the Trump administration, according to Valliant news.
The 26 lawmakers said the importance of protecting the Great Lakes cannot be overstated. The region’s $7 billion sport fishing market, $16 billion boating industry and $18 billion hunting and wildlife observation markets are all at stake.
“There is a consensus that the threat is real and, unfortunately, efforts to solve the problem are now mired in bureaucratic inaction,” the lawmakers wrote in a statement. “Further delay only increases the likelihood that this threat becomes a full-scale, irreversible inundation of this highly destructive invasive species.”
The Corps of Engineers study that took place two years ago was expected to recommend measures to keep Asian car from traveling beyond the lock and dam, which is 286 miles above the confluences of the Illinois and Mississippi rivers. The location is considered a choke point in the fight against all invasive species reaching the Great Lakes. Federal agencies have spent millions of dollars on measures, including placing electric barriers for the fish in the Chicago Area Waterway System.
Included in the group of lawmakers are republican representatives Bill Huizenga of Zeeland, Mich., Mike Bishop of Rochester, Mich., and Democrat Marcy Kaptur of Ohio. All of Michigan’s house delegation except Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Detroit, signed the letter.
“We respectfully request your personal assistance in directing the Corps to immediately engage with local and state governments, as well as fisheries and other interested groups, to implement a long-term solution for keeping Asian Carp out of the Great Lakes and reverse the decision to suspend the formulations of such plans.”
White house spokesperson Helen Ferre acknowledged this week that the Corps is holding off on releasing the plan “so the administration has an opportunity to examine the issue.”
U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, urged the administration to “fully explain the rationale” for the delay. Added Rep. Dave Trott of Birmingham, Mich., “I urge the president to take a closer look at what’s at stake.”