Thursday, September 18, 2014

#ThrowbackThursday: EPA partially responsible for Asian carp debacle

Illinois River near Peoria
Asian carp is a catch-all term for species of recently-introduced carp that have devastated the population of native fish in much of the Mississippi River basin. The Illinois River has been hit particularly hard by the invasive carp--by weight, two thirds of the fish in the Illinois are Asian carp.

Bighead, silver,and grass carp are the worst of the bunch. The fish were brought to America in the 1970s to control algae in Arkansas fish farms. Some escaped into nearby rivers. But part of the blame for the Asian carp fiasco goes the the Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA wasn't exactly protecting the environment in this case.

From the Detroit Free Press in 2011:
The EPA carried out what it described as "innovative" research on using bighead and silver carp in sewage ponds for two years, starting in 1979, in Benton, Ark. The carp "made the water clean enough to drink," said Mike Freeze, a fish farmer and fish biologist who once worked for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. When some small towns in Arkansas couldn't meet EPA requirements for the cleanliness of water discharged from their sewer plants, the agency ordered them to stock the carp to clean up those ponds, he said.

Freeze, who led research on the carp between 1977 and 1983, said he's certain some of the carp escaped on his watch.

"We know we lost fish from our facilities," he said, referring to the Game and Fish Commission.
Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal
Now the most hated body of water in America, the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, appears to be the last line of defense in protecting the Great Lakes from the Asian carp.

As for the EPA, more recently these know-it-alls have declared carbon dioxide--which appears naturally in nature--a pollutant. The EPA supplies the front-line troops for President Obama's war on fossil fuels.

They were wrong about Asian carp and they are wrong about fossil fuels and carbon dioxide.

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