Great Lakes to Get Their Day in Court; Judge Sets First Hearing on Asian Carp Lawsuit Filed by Five Great Lakes StatesContact:
John Sellek or Joy Yearout 517-373-8060
LANSING - Michigan Attorney General Mike
Cox today announced that a federal judge has scheduled the first hearing on the
merits of Michigan's lawsuit addressing the threat of Asian carp, filed in the
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Attorneys general
from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Ohio have joined Cox in his lawsuit,
which was filed July 19, 2010 due to the Army Corps' dismal record of inaction
in confronting Asian carp. Judge Robert M. Dow, Jr. yesterday confirmed that
the first hearing in the case will be on Monday, August 23, 2010, with two days
reserved for live testimony during the week of August 30, 2010, if the Court
determines it is needed.
of our water-based economy and environment is hanging in the balance," said
Cox. "The Great Lakes will now get their day in court."
hearing, Judge Dow will consider Michigan's motion for Preliminary Injunction,
which calls for several short-term responses to the Asian carp threat, the need
for which was made clear by the recent capture of a live bighead carp in Lake
Calumet, six miles from Lake Michigan and beyond any barriers. Michigan's motion
calls for the temporary closure of the O'Brien and Chicago Locks and blocking
other pathways in the Chicago water system, except as needed to protect public
health and safety, among other actions.
noted a story published by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that
seriously questions the idea that a three-foot long, 20-pound mature bighead
Asian carp recently found in Lake Calumet, past all barriers, was "planted"
there by humans. The story, entitled "Carp explanation may be a fish story,"
says that "facts are coming to light that indicate Illinois officials may have
stretched their own science to sell a whopper of a fish tale."
cites an "independent peer" review of tests done on the fish as saying that "no
concrete conclusion" could be made about the fish's origin. Additionally,
well-known Asian carp expert Dr. David Lodge pointed out no analysis of the fish
could explain how a fish got from one place to another. All of this runs
contrary to a press release from the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee
suggesting the carp was moved or transported above the barriers, possibly by
humans. ("Fish could have lived most of its adult life above Electric Barrier
Defense System.") When asked for evidence by the Journal Sentinel of
so-called "cultural releases" of Asian carp, the Illinois Department of Natural
Resources cited a website describing fish releases that were common during the
Ming Dynasty, which ended in 1644. The article goes on to quote an Illinois DNR
official as saying, "perhaps in retrospect we should have remained totally
silent about possible pathways."
published on Saturday, August 14th, can been found at:
is supported by affidavits from two experts: Dr. Tammy Newcomb of the Michigan
Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE) and Dr. John C. Taylor of
Wayne State University. Both experts are prepared to testify, if called.
calls for the Corps to use all available efforts to block Asian carp passage in
the waterways linked to Lake Michigan, including:
nets, other physical barriers and fish poison at 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;
Temporarily close the O'Brien and Chicago Locks;
and maintain screens on sluice gates at the O'Brien Lock, the Chicago River
Controlling Works and the Wilmette Pumping Station to reduce the risk of
fish passage when gates are open; and
Accelerate 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.
lawsuit 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.
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
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