Racing the Asian carp

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Racing the Asian carp

Akron Beacon Journal – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has dialed up the power on the electrical barrier designed to prevent Asian carp from using a Chicago waterway to move from the Mississippi River basin into the Great Lakes. The barrier serves as a temporary measure in response to threat, the voracious carp carrying the potential of great harm, its presence in the lakes likely to alter the ecosystem, jeopardizing an invaluable national resource, not to mention a $7 billion sport fishing industry.

A long-term plan for thwarting the carp depends heavily on a study launched by the corps at the direction of Congress. As things stand, the study is due for completion in 2015. That isn’t adequate, in view of the urgent need for action. Thus, U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat, has proposed legislation that would require the corps to expedite its work.

The hope is, the amendment will be attached to an appropriations bill involving energy and water development that senators appear ready to take up this week. Sherrod Brown joined as an early co-sponsor of the amendment. The measure deserves the support of his fellow Ohioan, Rob Portman, the two, Democrat and Republican, then reflecting the bipartisan support that should come from across the Great Lakes region.

The corps received authorization for the study in 2007. The Stabenow proposal would require the corps to complete its work within 18 months, or by the middle of 2013. That hardly seems onerous, especially in view of the concern.

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