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Congress poised to barricade the St. Anthony Falls Lock

Posted by: Corey Mitchell under 5th District, Minnesota congressional Updated: May 13, 2014 - 2:21 PM

Congress could soon close the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam as part of a deal on an $8.2 billion water-infrastructure bill.

House and Senate conferees last week reached agreement after nearly six months of negotiations on their respective versions of a bill to authorize funding for improvements to ports, waterways, and projects tied to flood protection, drinking water, dams, and environmental restoration.

The bill is up for votes in the Senate this week and the House next week.

Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken and Reps. Keith Ellison, Rick Nolan, Erik Paulsen and Tim Walz celebrated the agreement. Ellison and Klobuchar wrote provisions in the House and Senate bills that helped incorporate the lock closure in the final legislation.

Proponents of closure say the effect on a handful of Minneapolis companies pales in comparison to what could happen to Minnesota’s $11 billion-a-year tourism industry if Asian carp, an invasive species that crowds out native fish, begin breeding in the state’s lakes and rivers.

“Closing the little-used St. Anthony Falls Lock is the best way for us to slow the spread of invasive carp in Minnesota and to protect the natural resources that are critical to Minnesota’s economy and our way of life,” Ellison said in a statement.

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