'This is no small issue'

Alex Doty • Mar 7, 2017 at 10:00 AM

A Grand Haven City Councilman is hoping his message regarding the threat of Asian carp resonates with other communities around the Great Lakes — and in Washington, D.C.

Councilman Josh Brugger is circulating a letter to other lakeshore communities similar to Grand Haven in an effort to raise awareness over the threat of Asian carp and what the invasive fish could do to the Great Lakes ecosystem.

"I heard a report on NPR last week that, in the face of proposed executive level cuts to (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) funding, Rep. Bill Huizenga is leading a bipartisan, federal-level effort to ensure that resources are designated to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes,” Brugger said. “We all need to do everything we can to get the message to the president that this is no small issue.”

Brugger said that, regardless of party or platform, “we can all agree that EPA funding is needed for this effort.”

“Writing the letter and asking for small-town elected leadership support is one way we can get the message to the president on a grass-roots level,” Brugger said.

According to Brugger, fellow Grand Haven City Councilman Bob Monetza presented the letter to the Michigan Municipal League on Monday, and they’ve shown an interest in circulating a petition to the president.

“My hope is that, in a few weeks time, President Trump will receive a large envelope full of signatures from small-town leaders throughout the Great Lakes asking him to do everything in his power to keep Asian carp out of our lakes and rivers,” Brugger said. “The last thing we want to see is salmon and lake trout disappear as a more aggressive apex lake fish takes over.”

Grand Haven Asian Carp Letter to the President on Scribd

Huizenga reacts to possible GLRI cuts 

Rep. Huizenga, co-chairman of the U.S. House Great Lakes Task Force, has responded to reports that funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative could be cut.

The Zeeland Republican calls the GLRI “an important and effective tool in the effort to improve the environmental and economic health of the Great Lakes Region.”

“We have seen positive results from the GLRI right here in West Michigan with the recovery of White Lake,” the congressman said. “Additionally, the GLRI has a strong history of bipartisan support both in the House and in the Senate. My colleagues and I stood up in a bipartisan manner when President Obama attempted to cut funding for this program, and we will do the same if the Trump administration continues to pursue these cuts.

“The Great Lakes are too important to Michigan and to our nation,” Huizenga continued. “At the end of the day, the constitutional authority to determine what gets funded across the federal government resides with Congress. With that power comes the responsibility of informing the new administration why programs like the GLRI are so vital. That is a conversation I plan to have with this administration, and I encourage my colleagues, especially our senators, to do the same.”

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