Proos urges immediate and decisive action

The Michigan Senate adopted a measure Tuesday urging congressional action to help prevent Asian carp from entering Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes watershed, said Sen. John Proos.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 18 calls on Congress to immediately close the O’Brien Lock and Dam in the Chicago Waterway System.

“We know the impact of the Asian carp, and if these fish get through the locks and invade the Great Lakes the impact will be catastrophic,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “Asian carp would cause billions of dollars in lost economic activity and wipe out thousands of Michigan jobs – with Southwest Michigan the first area affected. Closing the locks isn’t a perfect solution, but leaving the Great Lakes vulnerable is too much of a risk to take.”

Great Lakes commercial and recreational fishing is a $7 billion industry, and the recreational boating industry in the state is worth $9 billion. The resolution states that immediate and decisive action is required to protect these industries from Asian carp, which are voracious feeders that compete with native fish and wildlife for food.

Federal lawmakers are considering legislation that would require feasibility studies to determine how best to prevent the migration of Asian carp and other invasive species into Lake Michigan. SCR 18 calls on Congress to keep the locks closed until the federal legislation is enacted into law.

“In addition to ravaging a vibrant fishing industry, the Asian carp would also decimate our Southwest Michigan tourism and boating industries – costing us jobs and endangering our way of life,” Proos said. “Time is a luxury we do not have. While the federal bureaucrats discuss a study, we need action to prevent a disaster.”

Copies of SCR 18 will be sent to the president of the United States, the speaker of the United States House of Representatives and members of Michigan’s congressional delegation.