Durbin Urges Comprehensive Plan to Combat Asian Carp
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) today urged leaders in the effort to prevent the Asian Carp from entering the Great Lakes to work together to establish and convey to Congress a long-term, comprehensive Asian carp eradication plan. Identical letters were sent to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, Jo-Ellen Darcy; Commandant of the United States Coast Guard, Thad Allen; Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa Jackson; and Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service, Sam Hamilton.
Durbin wrote: “Over the life of the barrier project, Congress has provided new authority and additional funding on multiple occasions to support the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies’ efforts to stop the spread of Asian carp. At this point, the situation calls for a long-term, comprehensive Asian carp eradication plan to guide federal efforts. I encourage you to work with your fellow agencies to establish and convey to Congress such a plan as soon as practicable.”
On Tuesday, Durbin met with Assistant Secretary Darcy to discuss federal efforts to control Asian carp. This week, the Environmental Protection Agency announced the allocation of $13 million in funding through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to prevent Asian carp from migrating further toward the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is a new interagency initiative led by the EPA to address the most significant challenges to the Great Lakes including invasive species, contaminated sediments, and non-point source pollution.
[text of letters below]
December 17, 2009
The Honorable Jo-Ellen Darcy
Assistant Secretary of the Army, Civil Works
U.S. Department of the Army
108 Army Pentagon, Room 3E446
Washington, DC 20310-0108 The Honorable Lisa Jackson
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20460
Admiral Thad W. Allen
United States Coast Guard
2100 Second St., S.W.
Washington, DC 20593
The Honorable Sam D. Hamilton
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240
I write to express my strong support for your agency’s ongoing efforts to prevent the Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes. I urge the [Army Corps of Engineers / Environmental Protection Agency / U.S. Coast Guard / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service] to continue its cooperative efforts with other federal agencies, while expeditiously considering all potential actions that could be taken to prevent this invasive species from entering the Great Lakes.
This fall, we learned that Asian carp genetic material was found in regular water testing of the Chicago Sanitary and Shipping Canal. The State of Illinois, in collaboration with the relevant federal agencies, took an unprecedented effort and applied Rotenone to six miles of the Canal to kill any Asian carp near the barrier.
In addition to finding positive eDNA in the Canal, genetic material was also found in the Des Plaines River, north of the electric dispersal barrier. Given the risk that the carp could bypass the barrier if the Des Plaines River were to flood, Congress provided the Corps with additional authority in the Fiscal Year 2010 Energy and Water Appropriations bill to prevent this from happening. It is my understanding that work on this report is ongoing and that an interim report be finalized as soon as possible.
Over the life of the barrier project, Congress has provided new authority and additional funding on multiple occasions to support the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies’ efforts to stop the spread of Asian carp. At this point, the situation calls for a long-term, comprehensive Asian carp eradication plan to guide federal efforts. I encourage you to work with your fellow agencies to establish and convey to Congress such a plan as soon as practicable.
I appreciate your attention to this urgent matter and look forward to working with you to ensure that federal efforts to contain Asian carp are coordinated, comprehensive and effective.
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