Michigan asks US Supreme Court to act in Asian carp flap
Michigan's attorney general takes aim at Illinois canal that, many worry, could be Asian carp's entree to the Great Lakes. He petitioned the Supreme Court Monday to intervene quickly.
The lawsuit, filed Monday, follows the discovery in early December of a single Asian carp about six miles from the Lake Michigan’s Chicago coast. The fish, a bottom feeder, is presumed to have entered the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, which links Lake Michigan to a tributary of the Mississippi River. The species has gradually migrated northward from Mississippi and Arkansas, where the fish were introduced in the 1970s to help clean catfish farms.
The discovery of the one Asian carp by the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources raised alarms in neighboring states because the fish has never before been found this far north. Neighboring states say the huge carp, if they reach Lake Michigan, will destroy the ecosystem of the Great Lakes and, along with it, the lakes' $7 billion fishing and tourism industries.
“We view it as a do or die if the carp gets to Lake Michigan,” says Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox, who filed the lawsuit Monday. “We hope the courts will attend to the request with the same urgency that we do.”
A bid to expedite the case
To get the case to the Supreme Court as quickly as possible, Mr. Cox summoned three separate 1929 complaints pitting Wisconsin, Michigan, and New York against Illinois, charging the canal unnaturally diverts water away from Lake Michigan for sewage and sanitation purposes. The first request of his petition is the immediate lock closures at the O’Brien Lock and Dam and the Chicago Controlling Works.