WASHINGTON, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)–March 1, 2011. In a meeting with the President’s Special Assistant for the Great Lakes, Cam Davis, and Chairman of the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee, John Goss, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today vowed to work to protect funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The Continuing Resolution (H.R.1) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2011, passed by the House of Representatives cuts funding for the Initiative by $250 million – from $475 million to $225 million – which, according to Goss, would delay Asian Carp research efforts and Carp management activities including electrofishing and netting.
“Asian Carp is the number one threat to the Great Lakes economy and ecosystem where the fishing industry alone is valued at $7 billion annually,” said Durbin. “Undercutting the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative by slashing funding to less than half of last year’s levels would seriously limit efforts to keep the Carp out of Lake Michigan. This is unacceptable to the thousands of people in the tourism and fishing industries who rely on a healthy Great Lakes ecosystem for their livelihood. Congress can’t expect to preserve these jobs and grow our economy if we don’t invest in the protection of Lake Michigan.”
In FY 2010, Congress appropriated $475 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to fund local and regional projects to improve water quality. Of that funding, $37.9 million was allocated for Asian Carp prevention activities. H.R. 1, The House Continuing Resolution, would cut funding in FY 2011 for the Initiative by $250 million.
Durbin has a long history of working to combat the spread of Asian Carp, and from 2003 through 2010 has helped secured more than $25 million in federal funding to contain the invasive species, and to keep it from entering Lake Michigan. State and federal agencies have already spent millions of dollars to contain the fish, particularly through the electric Asian Carp Barrier project of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Since 1998, the barrier project has received $41.2 million in federal funding.