Nearly $79 Million Pledged to Fight Carp

Governors, attorneys general and congressmen, oh my

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP Image
    The invasive Asian carp can grow up to 100 pounds and more than 4 feet long.

    Carp is on the menu in Washington this week, and it's so far costing about $79 million.

    Coming out of the first day of the Obama Administration's "carp summit" were details of a multi-faceted attack to halt the giant Asian carp, which officials fear could spread and possibly endanger the Great Lakes region's $7 billion fishing industry.

    A set of Midwestern Governors, not including IllinoisPat Quinn who stayed home because of snow, traveled to the White House to debate the best ways to stop the advance of the ugly fish.

    Several containment measures, including creating a third electric barrier, erecting new physical barriers, reducing the times the locks are opened and increasing the frequency of water testing came out of the first day of talks.

    Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm and Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle want Illinois waterways shut down so that the fish can’t make it into the Great Lakes.

    Illinois doesn’t like that plan because it seriously cripples a shipping industry.

    The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Tuesday will take up the issue on its own.

    Led by Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, more than a dozen members of Congress from the region agreed in January to seek $20 million for developing ways to prevent the carp from becoming established in the lakes and jeopardizing the fishing industry by starving out competitors such as salmon and walleye.

    "There's clear disagreement about closing the locks and I knew we couldn't resolve that issue ..." Durbin said. "But I wanted to find some common objectives that we could move forward on aggressively and quickly, and we have."

    On Wednesday, attorney’s general from Illinois and other Great Lakes states will chat about carp with the U.S. Justice department.

    On Thursday, they rest.

    On Friday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington types no doubt, will bring the carp issue back to Chicago when they discuss issues and take recommendations from the public and stakeholders in the fishing industry about the carp.

    Meanwhile, the carp march on.