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Carp-e-Diem? Supreme Court Again Refuses to Close Locks to Asian Carp

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By Tanya Roth, Esq. on March 24, 2010 2:45 PM

Like a fisherman who keeps casting into the same fishing hole where he has had no luck before, Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox returned to the Supreme Court for a second try at an injunction forcing the closure of the locks on the waterways leading to Lake Michigan. According to The Christian Science Monitor, Cox made his second attempt to take the only action he argues will protect the Great Lakes from the notoriously invasive Asian carp and rescue the $7 billion fishing and tourism industry from their hungry grasp. The Court denied the request for an injunction.

The Monitor reports AG Mike Cox presented what he claimed was new evidence to the High Court. According to Cox, since the Court had denied the request to close the navigational locks between Chicago and Lake Michigan, the carp themselves had seized the day and moved in, leaving evidence of their DNA on the shores of the lake. The Michigan Attorney General then attempted to refute the claims of heavy economic damage to the city of Chicago with research by Wayne State University showing economic losses to the barge and shipping industry, as well as to the surrounding area, would be much lower than Illinois had initially reported.

The opponents of lock closure, the federal government, city of Chicago and state of Illinois, say that a closure of the locks would be only a temporary aid, would cause severe economic damage to the area and fail to address the underlying problem. This past February, the Obama administration announced $475 million of funding to develop long-term solutions such as wetlands restoration and the construction of an additional electric barrier to prevent the fish from entering the Great Lakes. 

Representatives for Illinois AG, Lisa Madigan, say Michigan's requests fail to take into account the work the state of Illinois has done to address the piscean problem. "Illinois will continue to do everything within its legal authority to stop the progress of Asian carp and protect the ecology and health of the Great Lakes," Robyn Ziegler, press secretary for the Illinois Attorney General told The Monitor.

The Supreme Court will review Cox's request for hearings on April 16.

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