Congress “expects” plan release in budget language, directs open and transparent process
ANN ARBOR, MICH. – Today Congress approved a 2017 fiscal year budget, which - in addition to restoring funding for core Great Lakes programs - included language that it “expects” the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to release its draft study on options to add protections to the Brandon Road Lock and Dam in Illinois, a key chokepoint for preventing the spread of Asian carp toward Lake Michigan. The Trump administration unexpectedly delayed the release of the plan in February, prompting conservationists and a bipartisan Congressional delegation from Great Lakes states to call for its release.
Included in the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies section of the Appropriations Act of 2017, Congress included the following language:
“In lieu of House direction on Asian Carp and Senate direction on Aquatic Nuisance Species, the Corps is expected to release the draft Great Lakes and Mississippi River lnterbasin Study (GLMRIS) Brandon Road Study consistent with the urgency of its previous actions. The Corps is directed to adhere to a public and agency review process that is open and transparent. Further, the Corps is directed to provide quarterly updates to the Committees on Appropriations of both Houses of Congress on the progress and status of efforts to prevent the further spread of the carp as we as the location and density of Asian Carp populations, including the use of emergency procedures.”
Marc Smith, regional conservation director for the National Wildlife Federation, said:
“We appreciate the continued bipartisan support from Congress in calling for the release of the draft Brandon Road study,” said Marc Smith, regional conservation director for the National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes Regional Center. “After many years of stakeholder input and discussion, what is the U.S. Army Corps waiting for? The longer we wait for action, the closer Asian carp swim to our Great Lakes.”
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