Huizenga, Great Lakes Task Force Chairs Discuss Bill to Stop Asian carp, Authorize Brandon Road Project, and Protect the Great Lakes
Today, Co-Chairs of the House Great Lakes Task Force Bill Huizenga (R-MI), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and David Joyce (R-OH), released the following statements after the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed the Water Resources Development Act of 2020 (WRDA), authorizing the construction of a multilayered system to prevent the spread of invasive species at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam. The project, which will be carried out by the Army Corps of Engineers, is intended to prevent invasive Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes.
“Asian carp pose a significant threat to the Great Lakes from an ecological as well as an economic standpoint,” said Congressman Huizenga. “Earlier this year, I appeared before the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to urge Congress to make protecting and preserving the Great Lakes a national priority. By including authorization for the construction of the Brandon Road Lock and Dam System in WRDA, Congress is taking a significant step toward achieving this important goal. Millions of Americans rely on the Great Lakes for everything from drinking water to how they earn a living. We must continue to take bipartisan action to protect and preserve these incredible resources.”
In February, Congressman Huizenga testified before the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee that Congress can take a leading role in protecting the Great Lakes by moving forward and authorizing the Brandon Road project. As a project of national significance, the legislation also increases the federal cost share for the project to 80%, reducing the burden on cash-strapped state and local communities. The Great Lakes Task Force led a multi-member letter requesting that the project be specifically authorized and to increase the federal cost share of the project. The Army Corps submitted the Chief’s Report to Congress in May of 2019 with a positive recommendation.
“Preventing Asian Carp from entering the Great Lakes is among the highest environmental and economic priorities in our region,” said Congresswoman Kaptur. “It cannot be overstated how much damage Asian carp will do to our region’s most vital natural resource. We have a small window of time to stop this invasive species before it inflicts irreparable damage on our Great Lakes and our $7 billion fishing industry and equally important tourism industry. I am deeply grateful for T&I Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Subcommittee Chairwoman Grace Napolitano (D-CA) for their leadership shepherding this bill through Committee. Today, we are a major step closer toward saving the Great Lakes. Now, on to the House floor.”
“Preventing Asian Carp from entering the Great Lakes remains one of our top priorities on the task force,” said Congresswoman. Dingell. “Asian Carp have the potential to devastate the waters we all love and depend on, and we must ensure we have an advanced system in place to stop the spread of this invasive species for future generations. As a co-chair, I applaud the inclusion of the Brandon Road Lock and Dam project in the 2020 Water Resources Development Act—its authorization is a critical step forward to protecting the long-term health of our treasured Great Lakes and pivotal to the future economic success of the region.”
“If we don’t act now, Asian carp could soon enter the Great Lakes, which would cause irreversible damage to the entire region,” said Congressman Joyce. “Once this invasive species arrives, there is little that can be done to stop them from taking over. Any threat to the Great Lakes is a threat to our regional economy, the drinking water supply for millions of people, and more than 3,500 plants and animals. By installing barriers at Brandon Road Lock and Dam, we will substantially reduce the risk posed by invasive Asian carp to this invaluable natural resource and economic powerhouse. I thank my fellow Great Lakes Task Force Co-Chairs for their bipartisan leadership on this critical issue and applaud the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for recognizing that this project is necessary in order for us to protect and preserve the Great Lakes."
More information on the Brandon Road project can be found here.