High court lays off on carpAfter striking out with the U.S. Supreme Court, the state of Michigan and others favoring separation of the Lake Michigan and Mississippi River watersheds to prevent Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes must devise a new strategy.
By: The Associated Press, Lake County News Chronicle
After striking out with the U.S. Supreme Court, the state of Michigan and others favoring separation of the Lake Michigan and Mississippi River watersheds to prevent Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes must devise a new strategy.
The court on Monday refused to intervene for a third time. The justices turned down a plea by Michigan and other Great Lakes states to revive a long-standing case involving Chicago’s use of an engineered canal network to steer water from Lake Michigan toward the Mississippi.
Michigan and its allies hoped that case would be a vehicle for persuading the court to close shipping locks that could give the despised fish a passageway from Chicago-area waterways to the lake. They also wanted an order to permanently separate the two aquatic systems, linked artificially for more than a century.
The court declined the case in a two-sentence ruling with no explanation.
“We are pleased that the court has agreed with our position,” said Lisa Madigan, attorney general of Illinois, which joined the Obama administration in opposing Michigan. Illinois “will continue its extensive work in collaboration with the federal government and all the Great Lakes states” to keep the carp out of the Great Lakes, she said.
All sides agree it’s vital to ward off a carp invasion but disagree on how to do it. Biologists say the ravenous fish, weighing up to 100 pounds, could decimate the lakes’ $7 billion fishing industry by gobbling plankton, a key link in the food chain that supports prized species such as sal-mon and walleye.
Advocates said the government should move more quickly. Bighead and silver carp, imported to the Deep South in the early 1970s, escaped into the Mississippi River and have migrated northward since.
They have infested the sanitary and ship canal, built a century ago as engineers reversed the flow of the Chicago River to send wastewater from Lake Michigan southward toward the Mississippi.