Will this be the one that got away? Chicago has just missed being on the hook for a sizable hit to its waterway economy thanks to a Supreme Court decision, announced today. The High Court has refused the request by Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox to close the locks leading from the Mississippi to the Great Lakes to prevent an invasion of Asian Carp.
The Supreme Court did not find that the requirement of an "imminent threat" had been met and so refused to require the locks to be closed at this time. The Obama Administration weighed in favoring Illinois and Chicago, thus drawing accusations from the Republican Cox of favoritism. However, this is but one more step in the ongoing fish fry that has many states including Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York in fear for the lucrative fishing industry to be found in the Great Lakes.
As previously noted in this blog, the Asian Carp is a non-indigenous species first imported to the U.S. to help southern fish farmers clean their stock ponds. Like many invasive species, the carp has thrived to a point where it will threaten the natural eco-system as well as the fishing industry if it enters the Great Lakes. On their march lake-ward, the carp have survived poisoning as well as managing to breach the electronic barriers set up to prevent them from reaching the tasty treats available in the Great Lakes as proven by tests showing "environmental DNA" from the Asian carp beyond the barriers.
The Supreme Court will hear and decide the full case at a later date. As multiple sates are parties to the suit, the Supreme Court has original jurisdiction in this case. Unlike its usual function as a court of last resort, the Supreme Court will function as a trial court and be the first, and last, to hear the great carp case. Stay on line for updates.
- Supreme Court Denies Injunction in Great Lakes Carp Dispute (New York Times)
- Quit Your Carping: Michigan Files Lawsuit over the Asian Carp (Findlaw Legally Weird Blog)
- Asian Carp (USGS)