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|Governors, Quinn Differ on Lock Closures
|Should locks on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal be closed to prevent the Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes?
That's what the governor of Michigan is asking the Army Corps of Engineers to do, and she's asking the Michigan attorney general to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to force the locks closed.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn says he appreciates Michigan's concern, but he says cutting off barge traffic would put more diesel-burning trucks on the road hauling commerce that now plies the river and canal.
The canal was built over a century ago to carry Chicago sewage away from Lake Michigan. Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm argues that the canal established a link from the Mississippi River basin to the Great Lakes, and the Great Lakes are now imperiled by the Asian carp, a large, predatory fish that figure to eat so much that other species in the Great Lakes would starve.
The Army Corps of Engineers is attempting to stop the carp via an electronic barrier in Romeoville, though this week a carp carcass was discovered past that barrier.
Great Lakes states were unhappy with the canal's diversion of billions of gallons of Lake Michigan water each day into the Mississippi basin, and they sued last century in a case that went all the way to the Supreme Court.
The court decreed in 1967 that the Chicago diversion could continue, provided it was capped at certain level. Today that level is 2.1 billion gallons per day. But the lawsuit isn't closed; the justices ruled that the states that sued can bring the case back into court if they believe the Chicago diversion is causing damage to the shared Great Lakes.
Granholm thinks the looming threat of Asian carp swimming up the canal and into Lake Michigan fits that definition, and beyond closing the navigational locks, she wants to use the lawsuit to explore forcing Illinois to permanently sever the artificial link between the two grand drainage basins.
(Illinois Radio Network. Contributing: Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
|12 05 09 by Newsroom
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