Asian carp crisis in Michigan now in the hands of President Obama

April 26th, 2010 - 11:29 pm ICT by BNO News  

LANSING, MICHIGAN (BNO NEWS) – The U.S. Supreme Court denied Michigan and six other states their day in court on the Asian carp crisis, causing that thousands of Michigan jobs now depend on the decision of President Barack Obama, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Harry Reid, Michigan Attorney General Miki Cox said on Monday.

The U.S. Supreme Court decided to deny Michigan’s request to reopen the “Chicago Diversion” case or to open a new case to address the Asian Carp threat through the legal system. The Chicago Diversion was part of the construction of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal; it is designed to work by taking water from Lake Michigan and discharging it into the Mississippi River watershed.

This caused that an electric barrier was constructed in the canal in an attempt to prevent Asian carps from migrating into the Great Lakes. The Asian carp was originally used in catfish farms to eliminate algae in the 1970s. They escaped the farms and now threaten to enter the Great Lakes through the man made canal connecting the lakes to the Mississippi River.

Asian carps can grow to 50 or more pounds very fast. These planktivorous fish have colonized the Mississippi and Illinois river systems. The carp displaces native species of fish and alters the food chain for indigenous species. It also heavily affects the Michigan’s fishing industry, jeopardizing thousands of local jobs.

Attorney Cox filed a lawsuit in December seeking the immediate closure of the Chicago Canal to preserve both the ecosystem and the fishing industry. Illinois responded by issuing a counter-suit which rejected Michigan’s claims. Illinois said that closing the canal will result in a loss of $1.7 billion. Michigan replied that the loss or change in Lake Michigan’s ecosystem will result in a $7 billion loss.

“The fight to protect Michigan’s jobs and environment now falls to President Obama and Congress. While President Obama has turned a blind eye to the millions of Great Lakes residents who do not happen to live in his home state of Illinois, it is now up to him to save thousands of Michigan jobs and our environment. Michigan and all other Great Lakes residents should contact the President immediately and tell him the future of our region requires immediate action,” said Cox.

Michigan’s lawsuit was supported by the states of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana and the province of Ontario.

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