2014-01-09 / Opinions

Miller: Swift action needed to protect the Great Lakes

VIEW from Washington

U.S. Rep. Candice Miller U.S. Rep. Candice Miller Harrison Township, MI – U.S. Rep. Candice Miller (MI-10), the Co-Chair of the House of Representatives’ Great Lakes Task Force, on Monday made the following comments regarding the Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study (GLMRIS), a sevenyear study on how to manage invasive species in the Great Lakes. Miller thanked the Corps for completing the study; however, she expressed concerns about the study’s lack of a call for immediate action to protect the Great Lakes from the threat of Asian carp, as well as the Corps’ lack of timely analysis and reporting of the inter-basin diversion of water from the Great Lakes through the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. The last published review of this inter-basin diversion was conducted in 2009. Miller said:

“For years, I have been advocating for the protection of the Great Lakes in the halls of Congress, particularly from the threats posed by Asian carp and the diversion of our precious water. This study presented eight various alternatives to addressing the threats to the Great Lakes ecosystem, any of which would require congressional authorization. The only real solution that will truly protect the Great Lakes is the complete separation of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River – that will stop the Asian carp from coming into the Great Lakes and it will stop any further diversion of the Great Lakes’ water. While I recognize the significant investment required for complete separation, the entire nation must realize the detrimental impact to the entire Great Lakes Basin if we do not find the collective political will to fund complete separation

“I continue to call on the Corps to focus on the only solution that will yield the result that will truly protect the Great Lakes which is the hydrologic separation of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Basins. My constituents, the people of Michigan and the Great Lakes states take this threat seriously and it is long past time that the Administration do so as well because once Asian carp makes their way into the Great Lakes Basin it would cause incalculable damage.

“Our Great Lakes support billions of dollars a year through the fishing and shipping industries, as well as numerous recreational activities that make up the true essence of our state of Michigan. The citizens of the Great Lakes states have stood by patiently waiting for the Corps and other bureaucratic entities to conduct study after study on how best to manage Asian carp and other important environmental issues. The time has come for those studies to turn into action that will actually solve the problems.

“Lastly, the continued absence of a timely reporting of the inter-basin diversion of water from the Great Lakes through the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal is unacceptable. The continued, unabated diversion of Great Lakes water cannot continue. This is yet one more reason to implement strict hydrologic separation.

“The focus remains squarely on taking action towards finding a permanent solution to preventing the Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes, including the use of hydrologic separation. The Great Lakes are an environmental treasure to both our economy and our natural resources; protecting them is of the highest priority and importance.”

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