Paulsen, Klobuchar call for closures to stop invasion of Asian carp

Photo of Asian Carp, courtesy of Great Lakes Echo, which sponsors a Carp Bomb photo contest.

In a rare move, Minnesota's Democratic and Republican members of Congress are coming together on an issue: Stopping the spread of Asian carp into the Great Lakes ecosystem. Rep. Erik Paulsen and Sen. Amy Klobuchar told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday that the federal government must close the locks on Chicago waterways to prevent carp from moving up the Illinois River and making it to Lake Michigan.

The Close All Routes and Prevent Asian Carp Today Act (CARP ACT) is cosponsored by Paulsen and Rep. John Kline in the House and by Klobuchar and Sen. Al Franken in the Senate.

"Asian Carp are a serious threat to Minnesota's economy, environment and quality of life," Paulsen said in a statement. "It is important that we take immediate action to stop their migration into Minnesota and the Great Lakes. I'm proud to join this bipartisan effort to push for action on this important issue."

Asian carp can grow up to four feet long and, in infested areas, can jump out of the water en masse, injuring boaters. The species can displace local fish and could cause significant losses for the Great Lakes fishing industry.

The United States Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit last week by Great Lakes states, including Minnesota, to close locks in the Chicago area.

"The introduction of Asian Carp to Lake Superior would be devastating to Minnesota's Great Lakes' economy," said Klobuchar in a statement. "We must use every available means to prevent the spread of this invasive species that would cause significant losses to our sport fishing and tourism industries and would cost thousands of jobs."

The Obama administration has agreed to close one Chicago lock for five days to conduct a massive fish killing program, but legislators say more will need to be done in order to stop the carp.

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