Cox Asks U.S. Supreme Court for Immediate Action to Stop Asian Carp from Entering Great Lakes

Contact: John Sellek or Nick De Leeuw 517-373-8060

December 21, 2009


DETROIT - Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox today announced he has asked the United States Supreme Court to immediately order federal, state, and local officials responsible for Chicago-area locks and waterways to close them in order to stop Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes.  The fish are an aggressive invasive species that could quickly devastate Great Lakes fish populations, causing severe damage to Michigan's economy by ruining the Great Lakes' $7 billion fishing and tourism industries.

"Stopping Asian carp is an economic and environmental necessity for Michigan," said Cox.  "The Great Lakes are an irreplaceable resource.  Thousands of jobs are at stake and we will not get a second chance once the carp enter Lake Michigan."

"The actions of Illinois and federal authorities have not been enough to assure us the Lakes are safe," Cox continued.  "That's why the waterways must be shut down until we are assured that Michigan will be protected." 

Cox today filed suit in the U.S. Supreme Court asking for the following actions:

  • Closure of the locks at the O'Brien Lock and Dam and the Chicago Controlling Works


  • Operation of the sluice gates at the Wilmette Pumping Station, the O'Brien Lock and Dam, and the Chicago Controlling Works in a manner that will prevent carp from passing into Lake Michigan


  • Creation of new barriers to prevent carp from escaping from the Des Plaines River into the Chicago Sanitary and Shipping Canal during flood events, and from getting to Lake Michigan through the Grand and Little Calumet Rivers


  • Comprehensive study of the Chicago waterway system to define where and how many carp are in these waters, and to eradicate them


  • Action to permanently separate these waterways from the Great Lakes.


The suit comes after Illinois and federal authorities reportedly executed the largest fish kill in Illinois history in response to the discovery of Asian carp DNA just miles from Lake Michigan.  That action uncovered a carp near the electrical barrier, causing Cox to call for immediate action to once and for all address the potential devastation of the Great Lakes, before it is too late.

 "The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has itself admitted allowing Asian carp into the Great Lakes would be an "ecological and economic disaster,"" said Cox.  "Michigan families whose jobs and way of life depend on the health of the Great Lakes deserve to know there is a long-term solution to this crisis."

Attorney Cox has appointed veteran assistant attorneys general Peter Manning and Robert Reichel to lead the team of lawyers handling this case Cox's office has aggressively protected Michigan's water resources, previously suing the federal government multiple times to compel them to address the threat to our waters from invasives.  He also went to court to successfully defend Michigan's first-in-the-nation ballast water statute.



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