Attorney General Mike Cox announced that his office filed suit today in U.S.
District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to force the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater
Chicago to take emergency action to block Asian carp from entering Lake
Michigan, and accelerate efforts to develop a permanent solution to protect the
Great Lakes. Attorneys general from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Ohio
have joined Cox in his effort to protect the Great Lakes, due to the Army Corps'
dismal record of inaction in confronting Asian carp.
Obama and the Army Corps of Engineers have failed to fight Asian carp
aggressively," said Cox. "Asian carp will kill jobs and ruin our way of life.
We cannot afford more bureaucratic delays - emergency action must be taken to
protect the Great Lakes."
is supported by affidavits from experts at the Michigan Department of Natural
Resources and Environment (DNRE) and Wayne State University, and includes a
motion for preliminary injunction seeking immediate action to address the threat
that Asian carp will enter Lake Michigan. The imminence of this threat was
made clear by the recent capture of a live bighead carp in Lake Calumet, six
miles from Lake Michigan and beyond any barriers. The lawsuit is based on:
Nuisance: By failing to stop Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes, the Corps
allows grave and likely irreparable harm to the aquatic resources of the Great
Lakes and the shared public rights to them; and
Administrative Procedures Act: The federal Administrative Procedures Act allows
legal challenges to federal agency decisions that are arbitrary or unlawful.
Camp (R-MI), a sponsor of legislation to confront Asian carp, said, "I applaud
the Attorney General's latest filing, which provides the urgency we need to
protect the Great Lakes from impending ecological disaster. It is my hope the
District Court will take this case up immediately. With the recent discovery
that an Asian Carp has been found in Lake Calumet, past all barriers to the
Great Lakes, it is clear that we need to act swiftly to close the locks, while
working on permanent hydrological separation."
lawsuit, Cox points to the Army Corps' recent failures to implement commonsense
emergency actions to stop Asian carp, and the Administration's denial of the
request by Ohio for a new Carp Summit, even after the recent discovery of Asian
carp in Lake Calumet. Despite mounting evidence over the last several months
that Asian carp are present in Chicago waterways, the Army Corps has refused to
temporarily close the O'Brien and Chicago Locks, failed to apply fish poison in
every location that tested positive for Asian carp eDNA, failed to
comprehensively address all pathways linking Lake Michigan with carp-infested
Illinois waterways, and failed to sufficiently accelerate the evaluation of a
permanent separation of the Great Lakes Basin from the carp-infested Chicago
Area Waterway System.
lawsuit filed today
calls for the Corps to use all available efforts to block Asian carp passage in
the waterways linked to Lake Michigan, including:
block nets, other physical barriers and fish poison at strategic locations to
block or kill Asian carp that have already swam through the O'Brien lock,
dangerously close to Lake Michigan;
and maintain block nets and other physical barriers in the Little Calumet River,
where no barrier of any kind currently exists;
close the O'Brien and Chicago Locks, except as needed to protect public health
close sluice gates at the O'Brien Lock, the Chicago River Controlling Works, and
the Wilmette Pumping Station, except as needed to protect public health and
and maintain screens on all sluice gates mentioned above to reduce the risk of
fish passage when gates are open.
efforts to complete a feasibility study of a permanent hydrological separation
of the Great Lakes Basin from the Mississippi River within the next 18 months,
with reports at six and 12 months.
makes clear that all of the requested action would be subject to exceptions to
prevent flooding, allow access for emergency responders, and any other action
necessary to prevent serious threats to public health and safety.
Earlier this year, Cox petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to
intervene to address the threat of Asian carp. The Supreme Court declined the
take up the case, but did not rule on the merits of the legal claims by Michigan
and other Great Lakes states.
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