Stop Asian Carp Act Threatens Steel Exports And Economy
The Great Lakes are being threatened by an invasive species called Asian Carp. These fish are threatening the lakes because they can grow up to four feet and over 100 pounds. They eat everything, ruining the ecosystem of the Great Lakes.
"These are huge fish that can not only cause serious harm and destruction for other fish but make it very difficult for those of us who love to boat, who love be out on the water," said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). "We have a $7 billion fishing industry and a $16 billion boating industry and that doesn't count all of the other ways in which we benefit from enjoying the beautiful water," according to MyFox Detroit’s report.
Thus, the people are fighting back with a new bill called the "Stop Asian Carp Act" designed to protect the waterways. It was introduced in the House and Senate last week, with support from Senator Stabenow and a bi-partisan group of lawmakers.
Although efforts like monitoring, electric fences, and poisoning canals have prevented the fish from making their way to Lake Erie and the Ohio River, the fish are still getting closer. The solution lawmakers are proposing is to completely re-engineer Chicago’s waterways, permanently separating Lake Michigan from the Chicago-area water system.
However, the problem with this proposal is that closing these shipping locks will negatively impact the movement of commercial goods on the Chicago Are Waterway System. According to The Hill’s report, “more than 6.9 million tons of goods [in 2008] transited through the two locks that the CARP ACT seeks to close. These goods include petroleum, coal, steel, iron, and agricultural products, and more than 8,500 jobs are directly tied to these two locks. Closing these locks could also cause major flood damage in downtown Chicago.”
The Hill also said that barges reduce pollution for the Midwest and that the Port of Chicago is crucial for the U.S. and global economies as it contributes heavily in the overseas trade.