Rep. Lawrence holds OGR Interior Subcommittee hearing on invasive species policy in Michigan and U.S.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Brenda Lawrence (MI-14) on Tuesday held a hearing as the ranking Democratic member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Interior Subcommittee to discuss the impact of invasive species in Michigan and throughout the United States and to review the progress of the National Invasive Species Council (NISC).
During the hearing, Rep. Lawrence received a commitment from Council Executive Director Jamie Reaser that the NISC will have an updated plan ready for Congressional review this spring to better address the impact of non-native plants and animals, such as Asian carp and zebra mussels.
“Zebra mussels alone have caused Michigan more than $1 billion in damage by clogging pipes and filtration equipment of wastewater treatment plants. The mussels also pose economic threats to recreational and commercial fishing, activities that pump $4 billion to $7 billion into the economy every year,” Rep Lawrence said. “Additionally, the Great Lakes are facing threat from Asian carp which can devastate recreational fishing if not controlled. Recent reports show that these invasive fish have already caused significant ecological problems in the Ohio and Mississippi River basins.”
Experts at the hearing testified that invasive species cause an estimated $1.4 trillion worth of damage to the global economy every year and $120 billion to the U.S. economy each year. Among those who testified at the invitation of Rep. Lawrence was Dr. Alan Steinman, director and professor at the Robert B. Amis Water Resources Institute at Grand Valley State University.
“I want to thank Mr. Steinman, Ms. Reaser, and everyone who participated in Tuesday’s hearing to address this economic and environmental threat,” Rep. Lawrence. “It is clear that much more can and should be done, and I look forward to working with the Council in the coming year on improving our efforts to address this serious issue.”