Capitol Report: Petition created to close Great Lakes locks to keep out Asian carp

2010-01-13T13:30:00Z Capitol Report: Petition created to close Great Lakes locks to keep out Asian carpJESSICA VANEGEREN |

As the battle to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes continues to unfold, Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox Wednesday launched, an online petition that Great Lakes residents are urged to sign if they'd like federal officials and Illinois lawmakers to close several locks that serve as the last physical barriers between the Great Lakes and Asian carp-infested water.

According to a press release from Cox's office, "though the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers itself admitted that allowing Asian carp into the Great Lakes would be an "ecological and economic disaster," the Obama administration and Illinois officials continue to oppose Cox's efforts to protect the Great Lakes from the Asian carp, an aggressive invasive species that could quickly devastate Great Lakes fish populations and the millions of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity across the Midwest which they support.

The Obama administration last week filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court and Tuesday Illinois officials held a press conference opposing efforts to protect the Lakes from Asian carp. Since Cox filed his suit Dec. 21, other states, including Wisconsin, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, and the Province of Ontario, have filed briefs in support of the effort.

The suit came 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 located in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal.

Michael Staggs, director of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' Bureau of Fisheries Management, said in an interview earlier this week that it is unlikely the states would have filed suit had the Asian carp DNA not been found near the electrical barrier.

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