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Ohio Voters United on the Need to Stop Asian Carp

infographic on survey
infographic on survey
June 7, 2012

COLUMBUS, Ohio - It's rare to find an issue on which Ohioans across the political spectrum can agree, but a new poll finds that protecting Lake Erie and the other Great Lakes is one issue that unites Republicans, Democrats and Independents. Over the last three years, the federal government has spent more than $300 million a year to improve the condition of the Great Lakes, and the survey found 72 percent of Ohio voters think the funding should continue.

The president of the Lake Erie Charter Boat Association, Rick Unger, says the results underline the importance of Lake Erie to Ohioans across the state.

"People who may have never even seen Lake Erie voted strongly in favor of spending money to protect it, because as an Ohioan you just know that this lake is too valuable to lose, and it's such a resource."

Funding for restoration has been used to clean up toxic waste and bacteria, reduce run-off pollution from cities and farms, and protect and rebuild wetlands. However, problems continue, including sewage pollution, invasive species, and run-off of manure and excessive fertilizer into waterways that feed the Great Lakes.

The poll also found the majority of Ohioans would be concerned if Asian carp made their way into Lake Erie. And it showed that far more Ohioans support than oppose the idea of building a barrier in the Chicago canals to prevent an Asian carp invasion into the Great Lakes.

The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition released the poll, which was conducted by Columbus-based Fallon Research & Communications. Coalition co-chair Andy Buchsbaum says it's a wake-up call for the presidential candidates that strong action is needed to protect the Great Lakes and stop Asian carp.

"So far, none of the presidential candidates have done that. So, it's time for President Obama and Gov. Romney to step up to the plate and take on this issue of Asian carp."

Barrier opponents charge that it would prevent some barges from transporting goods, which they warn would hurt the economy. However, supporters say it is needed to protect fishing, recreation and the overall health of the Great Lakes, which in turn will help the economy.

The full report is available at www.healthylakes.org.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH