Proos urges president to act to protect Great Lakes from Asian carp

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Senator John Proos

Senator John Proos

LANSING—Sen. John Proos has introduced a resolution calling on the president to act to help prevent Asian carp from entering Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes.

Senate Resolution 12 asks the federal government to close the Chicago locks and end water diversions from the Great Lakes through the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal.

“The environmental and economic impact of Asian carp if these fish get through the locks and invade the Great Lakes would be catastrophic,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “The consistent inaction by the Obama administration over the years has resulted in Silver Carp, a species of Asian carp, to inch closer to destroying our vital Southwest Michigan waterways and effectively jeopardizing a $7 billion fishing industry.”

Proos mentioned the president’s lack of concern about the Great Lakes in his budget proposal.

“We need action, yet instead of protecting the Great Lakes, the president wants to cut $50 million from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative that deals with the lakes’ most serious long-term challenges such as invasive species like Asian carp,” Proos said. “It’s unacceptable.”

SR 12 states that the Chicago canal serves as a pathway for Asian carp and other harmful species to invade the Great Lakes. Invasive species already in the Great Lakes cost the region more than $100 million per year, and Asian carp could dramatically add to this cost.

“An Asian carp infestation would forever change the way of life along Lake Michigan – with Southwest Michigan one of the first areas affected,” Proos said. “I am once again calling for the closure of the Chicago locks to help prevent a disaster that would decimate our vibrant fishing, tourism and boating industries and wreak havoc on the ecosystems of the Great Lakes and all its rivers.

“This is a battle that we cannot afford to lose. Closing of the Chicago locks isn’t a perfect solution, but leaving the Great Lakes vulnerable is too much of a risk to take.”

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Editor’s Note: Audio comments by Proos will be available on the senator’s website at www.SenatorJohnProos.com. Click on “Audio” under the Media Center tab.