02.19.20

Holland Sentinel: Peters: Funding to prevent Asian Carp must be in budget

COOPERSVILLE — President Donald Trump did not include funding for the Brandon Road Lock and Dam in his latest budget proposal. The dam, located near Joliet, Ill., serves a barrier preventing Asian Carp, an invasive species of fish, from entering Lake Michigan and the rest of the Great Lakes water system.

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Michigan, has major objections with this. He told reporters following an event at a union facility in Coopersville on Tuesday, Feb. 18, that he plans on returning to Washington to argue for funding for the dam’s reconstruction when Congress meets to determine the nation’s spending plans.

“There’s no question, we’re going to do everything we can to make sure the funding is there,” Peters said. “The Asian carp can’t get into the Great Lakes, it would be catastrophic. We have to do everything we can to prevent that from happening.”

The carp were introduced in North America during the 1970s, being placed in ponds to eat algae. They escaped the ponds into the Mississippi River and Illinois River, and could enter Lake Michigan.

Species of Asian carp are known to reproduce rapidly and can weigh up to 100 pounds. They eat plankton, a main food source for native species of fish and other wildlife in the Great Lakes.

“I was very disappointed that that was not in the funding,” Peters said. “There is bipartisan support here in Michigan. So this should not be a partisan issue, working with my Republican colleagues, we’re all united that that funding needs to be there. And we’ll be working with the other Great Lakes states to make it happen.”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also did not allocate any funding for the Brandon Road facility in its work plan, either. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative also does not include funding for the Brandon Road facility.

“I’m passionate about keeping Asian carp out of the legs because it would be absolutely catastrophic,” Peters said. “The funding was not in the President’s funding. I was very disappointed by that, especially given the fact we’ve had bipartisan support coming together and all of the Great Lakes states and it is something that we will certainly work very aggressively to put back in.”

During a Jan. 30 rally in Warren, Trump told rally-goers that he planned to fund keeping Asian Carp out of Michigan.


By:  Arpan Lobo
Source: Holland Sentinel