Peters Cosponsors Bill to Fight Asian Carp, Invasive Species Problems in the Great Lakes

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) today announced he is cosponsoring the Defending Our Great Lakes Act, bipartisan legislation to prevent Asian carp and other invasive species from destroying the Great Lakes. The bill, which was introduced by Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Representative Candice Miller (R-MI), authorizes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to focus immediate efforts on stopping the spread of Asian carp at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam, south of the Chicago Area Waterway System. In the long-term, the bill also directs the Army Corps to work with state and local partners to develop more permanent solutions to prevent invasive species from entering the Great Lakes. Peters was a cosponsor of the previous version of the bill in the House of Representatives during the 113th Congress.

“Asian carp continue to present a serious economic and environmental threat to our Great Lakes, and it’s clear the federal government needs to tackle this problem more aggressively,” said Senator Peters. “This bill is focused on specific, tangible actions that will help prevent the spread of Asian carp and other invasive species that would significantly disrupt the Great Lakes ecosystem and the region’s multibillion-dollar boating and fishing industries. I’m pleased to cosponsor this bipartisan legislation aimed at eradicating this threat and protecting our Great Lakes, and I applaud Senator Stabenow and Representative Miller for their leadership on this critical issue.”

Despite previous efforts to address this threat, more still needs to be done to permanently prevent the transfer of invasive species between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds. In 2013, Asian carp eDNA was found in the Wisconsin waters of Lake Michigan and a live carp was caught in Flatfoot Lake near Chicago – alarming examples of the urgent need for greater federal action to safeguard our Lakes.

Throughout his time in Congress, Peters has worked to preserve and protect the Great Lakes. An amendment offered by Senator Peters to protect the Great Lakes from invasive species transported via ballast water of seafaring ships was included in the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA) that passed the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee with bipartisan support today. Peters’ amendment would require vessels entering the Great Lakes through the St. Lawrence Seaway to flush their ballast water tanks before entry.