WASHINGTON – (RealEstateRama) — The Senate Appropriations Committee approved its $38.4 billion energy and water spending package, including a provision offered by U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) requiring the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) to release a draft plan within 30 days of the bill’s passage for keeping Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes. This plan, referred to as the Brandon Road Study, was set to be released on February 28, 2017, but has been stalled by the Trump Administration.
“With last month’s discovery of an adult Silver Carp a mere nine miles from Lake Michigan, it is imperative that the Trump Administration release the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ draft proposal to prevent Asian carp from reaching and severely harming the Great Lakes,” said Durbin. “I remain concerned by what I understand to be a White House decision to delay and potentially modify this report that has been under development for years. Now more than ever, we should be redoubling our efforts to prevent the spread of Asian carp by ensuring strong federal funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative – which President Trump’s budget eliminates – and by pushing for the release of the Brandon Road Study, which this proposal intends to do.”
Senator Durbin has long advocated for a comprehensive approach to protect the Great Lakes from the threat of Asian Carp. In January, Durbin and eleven other bipartisan senators from the Great Lakes region wrote to Assistant Secretary of the Army Jo-Ellen Darcy asking the Army Corps to complete the Brandon Road Study, which will offer recommendations to keep invasive Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes. In April, Durbin and some of his colleagues wrote to President Trump and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney requesting the Administration release the Army Corps draft proposal to prevent Asian carp from reaching and severely harming the Great Lakes after the White House decided to delay and potentially modify this report. Durbin has yet to receive a response to this letter. In June, Durbin joined Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Gary Peters (D-MI) to introduce the Stop Asian Carp Now Act, which would require the Trump Administration to release the Brandon Road Study within seven days of the bill’s enactment.
Durbin has led efforts in the Senate Appropriation Committee to secure federal funding to combat the spread of Asian Carp. He has helped secure nearly $2 billion in funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), a cross-agency action program intended to protect the Great Lakes from threats, including invasive species like the Asian carp, and clean up toxic areas of concern. President Trump’s fiscal year 2018 budget calls for the elimination of the GLRI, hurting efforts to prevent Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes.