Rep. Lipinski Addresses Asian Carp Threat to Great Lakes, Vows to Work to Implement a Feasible Solution

U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (IL-3) issued the following statement on today’s U.S. Army Corps of Engineers public meeting in Chicago to discuss the agency’s report on the options for preventing the spread of aquatic nuisance species, such as the Asian carp, into the Great Lakes:

“As the congressman representing a district that includes waterways that tie the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River basin, I am keenly familiar with the issues and challenges presented by the Asian carp and other invasive species. The Great Lakes are among our most precious natural resources, supporting critical fishing and tourism industries, while providing clean drinking water and unmatched recreational opportunities. Also, as northeastern Illinois’ lone member on the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, I am aware of the crucial role the shipping industry plays in our country’s economy by creating jobs and commercial activity.

“I commend the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the thorough report it has submitted to Congress for consideration. While most of the public attention so far has focused on one or two of the eight proposed actions, it is critical that we study all of the possibilities and weigh the pros and cons of each, including looking at the estimated cost, time, environmental impact, economic impact and likelihood of success. There is no ‘silver bullet’ and there are no guaranteed outcomes, but this should not be an excuse for inaction. I look forward to continuing the dialogue with the Army Corps and including all other interested stakeholders to develop a realistic and feasible plan of action to protect the Great Lakes, while preserving those jobs that depend on a healthy, vibrant waterways system.”

Rep. Lipinski is the cosponsor of an amendment to the Water Resources Reform and Development Act that requires federal agencies to develop a set of best practices to eliminate the spread of Asian carp through activities like contract fishing and pesticide application.

In 2009, Rep. Lipinski helped to pass legislation that enabled the construction of a 13-mile system of barriers in his district to prevent the invasive species from being swept from the Des Plaines River and the I&M Canal and into the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal during heavy rains and flooding. The congressman’s district also is home to three electronic barriers in operation in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal near Romeoville to deter the movement of Asian carp and between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River basin.