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Feds oppose closing locks to stop carp

January 05, 2010 at 05:35 PM

AP Environmental Writer

Carp request invalid

CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan contends Wisconsin and other Great Lakes states do not have the legal authority to demand the closing of canal locks within Illinois.

Madigan filed her response Tuesday with the U.S. Supreme Court to a request by Wisconsin and other states for an injunction to close the locks to protect the lakes from the invasive Asian carp.

Madigan contends the request has nothing to do with the diversion of Lake Michigan water, and thereby is invalid under the multistate consent decree it cites.

Madigan also noted that Illinois does not operate either the canal locks or the sluice gates Michigan wants closed. She pointed out a recent deliberate kill of all fish in a six-mile area of the Cal-Sag Channel yielded only a single Asian carp.

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - The Obama administration Tuesday opposed Michigan and other states that want to close shipping locks near Chicago to prevent ravenous Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes.

Solicitor General Elena Kagan told the U.S. Supreme Court that heeding the states’ request would endanger public safety while disrupting cargo and passenger vessel traffic.

While acknowledging the carp pose a threat to the lakes and their $7 billion fishery, Kagan said it was unclear that closing the locks immediately was necessary to keep them out.

“In a host of ways, the federal government has demonstrated its commitment to protecting the Great Lakes from the expansion of Asian carp,” she said in a written memo. “Nothing in federal law warrants second-guessing its expert judgment that the best information available today does not yet justify the dramatic steps Michigan demands.”

Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox filed a lawsuit with the nation’s highest court last month. It asked that several locks on waterways south of Chicago be closed immediately as a first step toward eventually severing a century-old artificial link between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River basin.

The waterways, including the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, are infested with bighead and silver carp that have been migrating northward in the Mississippi and Illinois rivers for decades. They can grow up to 4 feet long and 100 pounds and are notorious for starving out other fish species.

Officials poisoned a section of the canal in December after discovering genetic material that suggested at least some carp had eluded an electric barrier and could be within 6 miles of Lake Michigan. If so, the only other obstacles between them and the lake are shipping locks and gates.

Minnesota, New York, Ohio and Wisconsin and the Canadian province of Ontario have filed documents supporting Michigan’s position.

Illi nois, named as a defendant in the lawsuit along with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and a Chicago agency, submitted papers Tuesday saying Michigan had not made a convincing case for an immediate court order.

Kagan said closing the locks would require using more expensive means to haul coal and other commodities between the lakes and the Mississippi River system. Switching to land transportation would cost shippers nearly 10 percent of their cargo’s total value, she said.

The locks also provide essential access for Coast Guard crews responding to recreational boating emergencies and environmental crises such as oil spills in the waterways, Kagan said.

She contended there was insufficient evidence that enough carp had slipped past the electric barrier to pose an imminent danger.

Michigan officials say any economic losses from closing the locks would be small in comparison to the damage a carp invasion would wreak on the lakes.

John Selleck, spok esman for Cox, said Michigan officials had hoped the federal government “would agree that the status quo is putting the Great Lakes at great risk. We must act now to ensure that thousands of jobs and our greatest natural resource is protected.”

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Just like the liberals, they want to do everything they can to slow down free markets and capitalism. However when some thing like this makes so much sense they cant be bothered with hurting the economy.So keep voting for your liberal/socialist democratic lawmakers way to go illinois. Makes be proud to be a citizen of this great state.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 01/06 at 08:31 AM

then move.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 01/06 at 10:56 AM

Goose, if the Bush admin held the same position, I would bet big money that you would support it.  Some radicals on both sides seem to dislike a policy simply because the other guys like it.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 01/06 at 11:29 AM

Just think, a big hit to the shipping industry would be a big boost to the trucking industry (albeit, considerably more expensive for everyone).

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 01/06 at 12:57 PM

No surprise here. The Obama administration can’t keep uninvited guests from entering the
White House, can’t keep terrorists from getting on planes with the intent on blowing it up and treats terrorists like common criminals and gives them the same rights as US citizens!!! Why should he care if some carp get in the great lakes? He is much too busy with his march towards socialism….....

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 01/06 at 02:18 PM

closing the locks wouldn’t keep them out anyway, if they’re that close..they’ll make it in

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 01/06 at 05:50 PM

i would bet they are already in the lakes and they will find out that everything they have done to prevent it was a waste of time and money, much like the cwd eradication effort!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 01/07 at 10:01 AM

Cap and Trade. Obama is worried about global warming and wants to make the power stations be fined for polution but its ok to ruin the gt. lakes Go figure.I wonder who got paid off on this deal.Wheres the gt.lakes Czar when we need him oh maybe it was him. Only in America.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 01/08 at 09:26 AM

Baldwalnut u r right these fish are already in the lake, and probably have been for some time. It is alot easier for fish to hide in the great lakes than say Peoria lake in the summer with 3 feet of water. Just fyi, I caught a 11 pound male chinook salmon in Oct 2006 in Upper Peoria lake with a lampry scar on its side. I gave the fish to a biologist with the state natural history survey. I realize this fish was going down stream, but it still got through.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 01/08 at 11:19 AM

As a downstater along the Kaskaskia River, trust me, you will be very sorry when these P.O.S. fish arrive. When Great Lakes boaters are getting whacked in the head with flying carp, the feds will realize their knuckle-headed thinking.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 01/08 at 11:44 AM

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