Michigan House Republicans call on administration to release study after new Asian carp threat

Reports that an Asian carp breached an electric barrier in Illinois and was captured nine miles from Lake Michigan on Friday led members of Michigan’s Republican congressional delegation to call for swift action by the Trump administration to protect the Great Lakes from harmful invasive species.

U.S. Reps. Bill Huizenga, John Moolenaar and Fred Upton called on the administration to release a Brandon Road Lock and Dam Study to help shape a plan to keep the invasive species out of the Great Lakes following Friday’s report from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee.

The Army Corps of Engineers undertook the study in 2015 to evaluate the viability of a single upstream control point for the Mississippi River basin to enter into the Great Lakes basin near the Brandon Road Lock and Dam in Joliet, Illinois.

“The discovery of Asian Carp this close to Lake Michigan demonstrates how the window of opportunity to protect the Great Lakes is closing,” Huizenga, a co-chair of the Great Lake Task Force, said. “If Asian Carp are able to gain access and reproduce within the Great Lakes, the environmental and economic damage will be severe. Protecting the Great Lakes should be a national priority and a bipartisan endeavor.”

Huizenga said that if the Trump administration does not release the Brandon Road study, the House should take up his legislation, the Stop Asian Carp Now Act, to force its release.

Huizenga introduced the bipartisan and bicameral Stop Asian Carp Now Act last week, a measure that would compel the administration to release the Brandon Road study within seven days of being signed into law. Every member of Michigan’s congressional delegation has supported the bill.

“The finding of Asian carp less than 10 miles from Lake Michigan is another alarm bell for action to protect the Great Lakes ecosystem from this invasive species,” Moolenaar said. “There is an urgent need for the Army Corps of Engineers to release the Brandon Road Lock and Dam report so further steps can be taken to stop Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes.”

Upton, an original cosponsor of the Stop Asian Carp Now Act, echoed Moolenaar’s sentiment and said the time to act is now.

“I am calling on the Trump administration to immediately release the Brandon Road study so that we can have a full grasp of our options to stop this destructive force,” Upton said. “Asian Carp have the potential to decimate the Great Lakes we all love and depend on. It is absolutely imperative we step up our efforts to further protect our lakes.”

Friday’s announcement that an Asian carp had been captured beyond the electric barriers marked the second time that the invasive species breached the barriers. The other instance came in 2010 when a bighead Asian carp was found in Lake Calumet.