The Great Lakes are threatened by an encroaching non-native species of fish referred to as Asian carp. Reports of an Asian carp found above the electronic barrier in the Chicago Area Waterway System as well as evidence of environmental DNA in Lake Erie confirm the immediate threat faced by the Great Lakes from this invasive species. The introduction of this invasive species would have a destructive effect on the entire Great Lakes ecosystem and would inflict severe harm to this treasured natural resource.
We must pursue immediate and long-term solutions for addressing Asian carp. In August 2017 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released the Brandon Road Study to provide a roadmap on how best to prevent Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes. In order to protect the overall health of the Great Lakes, in April 2019 I introduced H.R.2141, the Great Lakes Agricultural Stewardship Act, to encourage states throughout the Great Lakes Basin to develop voluntary agricultural assurance programs to promote conservation and minimize agricultural pollution risks.
Additionally, in June 2018 I voted in support of H.R. 8, the Water Resources Development Act of 2018 (WRDA), bipartisan legislation that provides for improvements to the Nation’s ports, inland waterways, locks, dams, flood protection, ecosystem restoration, and other integral water resources infrastructure projects. WRDA authorizes the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct projects improving water infrastructure that will promote and facilitate commerce throughout our country and our state.
I am also a strong supporter of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), which helps ensure we will have healthy Great Lakes for generations to come. In March 2018 I voted in support of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, which was signed into law, P.L. 115-141, by the President and fully funds the GLRI at the level of $300 million. In August 2018 I had the opportunity to show EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler firsthand, the immense work the GLRI program is doing for Michigan’s 7th Congressional District and our Great Lakes. I took Administrator Andrew Wheeler on a visit to the Western Lake Erie Basin to meet with local stakeholders and see the work being done of the ground to combat harmful algal blooms, fight invasive species, and restore Michigan lakes and wetlands so that we can all enjoy these wonderful natural resources.
To boost funding for the GLRI, I introduced H.R.1440, Great Lakes Restoration Semipostal Stamp Act. Introduced in February 2019, the legislation would create a special postage stamp with Great Lakes artwork, where proceeds would to the GLRI fund. H.R. 1440 comes at no additional cost to taxpayers.
Furthermore, I have also worked with Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI) and successfully offered and passed a bipartisan amendment to help protect the Great Lakes from grass carp, one of the four invasive species of Asian carp. The amendment, adopted in the 2019 Interior & Environment, Financial Services & General Government Appropriations Act, directs additional resources to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) to bolster efforts to eliminate grass carp from Lake Erie.
Honoring our Local Heroes
During the 113th Congress, I was honored to introduce a resolution to rename a Jackson post office as the "Officer James Bonneau Memorial Post Office Building." Officer James Bonneau was killed in the line of duty in 2010 while responding to a domestic disturbance. The President signed the legislation into law on December 16, 2014. In May 2015, I joined Officer Bonneau’s parents and members of the Jackson Police Department for the official dedication and to remember Officer Bonneau’s sacrifice.
Raising Awareness and Responding to Problems in our Community
Human trafficking affects millions of people around the world, and is a serious problem at home in Michigan. One of the challenges in combating human trafficking is properly identifying and serving victims. To that end, I am a proud cosponsor and to have voted in support of the Improving Support for Missing and Exploited Children Act, which strengthens efforts to recover missing children and support youth who are the victims of violent crimes. This important bill was signed into law by President Trump on October 11, 2018.
During my time in Congress I have supported legislation, held public forums, and met with the Michigan State Police, victim rights advocates, and county prosecutors, to hear their experiences and learn what additional tools are needed to better assist them in addressing the growing problem of human trafficking. To learn more about my actions to combat this scourge on our society, please visit the human trafficking webpage.
Additionally, there has been an increasing presence of heroin and opioid abuse in Michigan which has sadly led to numerous overdoses and deaths. As a member of The Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic, I’ve been working with my colleagues to foster awareness, develop best practices, and promote collaboration to address problems associated with heroin addiction. In October 2018, the President signed into law, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act a series of legislative solutions to fight the crisis our country is currently facing. I was proud to have two pieces of legislation included in that package. The first is Jessie’s Law, a bill to ensure doctors have access to the information they need so they can safely treat their patients and prevent unknowingly prescribing powerful opioid medications to those struggling with addiction. My second bill, Safe Disposal of Unused Medication Act, aims to prevent the misuse of opioids by equipping hospice health care professionals the legal authority to dispose of opioids after a patient’s death - lessening the risk of these medications being diverted into our communities and misused..
Additionally, my colleagues and I on the Energy and Commerce Committee have been holding hearings to examine the next wave of the opioid crisis. During a March 2017 hearing, I had the opportunity to question federal agencies about the strategy to combat the threat and how to strengthen the federal response to the growing crisis. To learn more about the Committee’s actions please visit here.
While local and state partners are on the front lines for addressing this epidemic, the federal government must also do its part. In December of 2016, Congress passed H.R. 6, the 21st Century Cures Act, which directed significant resources to fight the heroin epidemic.
This growing epidemic will take the work of citizens, treatment providers, law enforcement, and elected officials at every level and please know I will continue to push in the House to address this matter.
When it comes to protecting the health of Michiganders, we in Congress have a duty to ensure federal, state, and local governments are effectively communicating and disseminating information to the public. For that reason, in January 2019, I joined the bipartisan PFAS Task Force to address chemical contamination around the country. In May 2019, I cosponsored H.R. 2626, the PFAS Accountability Act of 2019, which helps ease cooperation between federal agencies and states with addressing PFAS contamination in our water.
09/13/2019 - Walberg Calls for Release of Michigander Paul Whelan
07/02/2019 - ABC 7: Michigan Lawmakers Tour Asian Carp Barrier to Protect Great Lakes
07/01/2019 - WLNS: Walberg Hosts Resource Fair to Help Seniors
05/10/2019 - WLNS: Walberg Hosts 9th Annual Job Fair in Jackson
03/27/2019 - WILX: Walberg Introduces Bipartisan Great Lakes Stamp Bill
02/27/2019 - Walberg Recognizes Lenawee County Sheriff Jack Welsh
07/20/2018 - Fox 17: House Approves Funding for Great Lakes
06/13/2018 - WLNS: Lawmakers Working to Curb Opioid Crisis
06/04/2018 - The Story Behind Jessie's Law
06/01/2018 - Walberg Celebrates Michigan International Speedway's 50th Anniversary
05/24/2018 - WLNS: Walberg Questions USA Gymnastics on Larry Nassar Scandal
04/27/2018 - WLNS: Walberg Calls on Pruitt to Defend Great Lakes
04/12/2018 - Walberg Recognizes Eaton County Sheriff's Deputy for Bravery Award
03/29/2018 - WTOL: Walberg Hosts Monroe Forum on Combating Opioid Crisis
01/11/2018 - Walberg Recognizes Dundee Engine Plant Manager on 40-Year Milestone
12/22/2017 - Serving You in 2017
12/07/2017 - Walberg Presses EPA Administrator on Protecting the Great Lakes
08/08/2017 - Fox 47: Walberg: Stop Asian Carp from Damaging Great Lakes
06/27/2017 - Walberg: We Can’t Allow Asian Carp to Wreak Havoc on the Great Lakes
05/24/2017 - WLNS: Michigan lawmakers band together to protect Great Lakes
03/28/2017 - Walberg: Preserve the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
03/07/2017 - WLNS: Walberg tours Jackson Recovery Resource Center
02/02/2017 - Walberg Highlights New Auto Industry Jobs, Innovation
01/10/2017 - Walberg Highlights 2017 Auto Show on House Floor