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Granholm, Cherry Urge Attorney General Cox to Pursue Every Legal Means to Keep Asian Carp Out of Great Lakes

December 2, 2009

LANSING - Governor Jennifer M. Granholm and Lt. Governor John D. Cherry Jr. today urged Attorney General Mike Cox to vigorously pursue every legal means to prevent Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes.
"The Great Lakes' ecosystem is at risk and because of the importance of the Great Lakes to Michigan's economy, we urge you to vigorously pursue every legal tool at your disposal as Michigan's attorney general to prevent the ecological disaster that will occur if Asian carp are allowed into the Great Lakes," said Granholm and Cherry in a letter delivered to Cox today.  "Michigan's $4.5 billion sport and commercial fishery is in jeopardy."

Asian carp can grow to more than four feet long and weigh up to 100 pounds.  They are voracious feeders and overwhelm native species.  The carp may have breached the electric fish barrier on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal which connects the Mississippi River system with the Great Lakes.

"We believe that emergency action to close the Chicago Sanitary Shipping Canal locks, and ultimately, the permanent biological and/or hydrological separation of the Great Lakes from the Mississippi system via the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal must be fully explored and appropriate legal action pursued as quickly as possible," Granholm and Cherry said.
The Granholm administration has moved aggressively to block Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes.  The administration's actions include:
-  prohibiting possession of live Asian carp in Michigan;
-  providing direct financial support for the electrical barrier in 2004;
-  providing staffing, materials and equipment for the upcoming emergency response along with other states and Canadian provinces.
Recently, Lt. Governor Cherry wrote the Undersecretary of the Army to urge additional actions to protect the Great Lakes, including the completion of the second portion of the new barrier, full utilization of the existing barrier now operating at minimal levels, creating a physical barrier to block carp from entering via other waterways during flooding, and using all existing congressional authorities to block the carp's entry.
"We ask that you join us in this effort to protect the Great Lakes," Granholm and Cherry said.  "We appreciate your immediate response as the state's lawyer to this imminent and looming threat to Michigan's natural resources and economy."
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