MUCC descends on DC for Great Lakes Days
While the end of February was cold and blustery in Michigan, the issue of our Great Lakes was heating up in Washington, DC.
MUCC had a strong contingent that made the trip to be a part of the Healing Our Waters (HOW) Coalition’s Great Lakes Days where we spent two days meeting with Michigan’s Congressional delegation to talk Great Lakes issues.
The main issues the coalition focused on were stopping the spread of Asian Carp into the Great Lakes, making sure the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) is properly funded, and also ensuring adequate funding for conservation programs in the Farm Bill, which is currently going through its reauthorization process.
MUCC hammered home the effects Asian Carp could have on Michigan’s $7 billion dollar fishery. Also tagging along to the meetings were folks who shared success stories of the positive things that the GLRI is doing to bring back some of our most troubled lakes, rivers, and watersheds.
The issues were well received by our Michigan Congressional delegation and staff, but given the tough economic times and current budget fight in Washington, everyone stopped short of guaranteeing a funding amount. They also put a lot of the blame for slow Congressional action on Asian Carp on their colleagues from Illinois and Indiana who are holding the issue up over concerns about effects on the shipping industry from separating the Mississippi River and Great Lakes Basins.
All told, MUCC members and staff were able to meet with Rep. Fred Upton, Rep. Candace Miller, Rep. Sander Levin, Rep. John Dingell, Sen. Carl Levin, and Senator Debbie Stabenow. They also met with staff from the offices of Rep. Dave Camp, Rep. Dan Benishek, Rep. Bill Huizenga, and Rep. Tim Walberg.