Thursday, March 3, 2011

Legislation Calls for Expedited Study to Separate Great Lake and Mississippi River Basins

Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) in the Senate and Representative Dave Camp (D-MI-4th) in the House announced today (March 3) that they will be introducing companion legislation to require that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conduct and expedite a study to determine the best way to permanently separate the Mississippi Basin from Lake Michigan, while still permitting shipping and boating passage ("ecological separation").  The bill, called the "Stop Asian Carp Act of 2011," will require the study begin within 30 days and be completed within a year and a half of the legislation's passage.  Both Senator Stabenow and Representative Camp introduced similar legislation during the 111th Congress, last year.  Notably, Senator Durbin did not co-sponsor that Senate bill (important because he is from Illinois), and neither measure was brought up for consideration in committee (see here for the 2010 bill summary).

Among other things, the Stop Asian Carp Act would direct the Army Corps of Engineers to study the Illinois, Chicago and Calumet Rivers watersheds to determine the feasibility and best means of implementing the ecological separation of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River Basins to prevent the introduction or establishment of populations of aquatic nuisance species into the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Basins through the Chicago Area Water System and other aquatic pathways.

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