Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Asian Carp: Politics as Usual

My last blog was about the asian carp it seems fitting that I will start up again with that issue on the day that the US Supreme Court decided to not temporarily shut down the navigational locks to keep out the Asian carp.

Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox brought the suit in late December after Asian carp DNA was found past the Chicago Sanitary Ship Canal's electric barrier. The order brought open an old Supreme Court case that left open a challenge to the Chicago diversion if it could be shown that the diversion was doing harm to the Great Lakes.

Since the lawsuit was brought Cox quickly got Wisconsin, Ohio, New York, and Minnesota on board with the lawsuit since recreational fishing in the Great Lakes is estimated at $7 billion. The only people openly against temporarily shutting down the locks were Illinois officials like Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill), U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert (R-Ill), U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorsen (D-Ill), and Obama's Great Lakes czar Cameron Davis.

Make no mistake about it the do-nothing approach is a risky move politically. It shows an irrational unwillingness to work with the neighboring states. The refusal to at least temporarily shut down the locks until a solution can be found is borderline insane and reckless. There is a fighting chance to stop the Asian carp and to save recreational boating and the fishery and instead of using every tool we can to stop it, Illinois officials have doomed us all to a do-nothing approach. They have chose local special interests over everyone's interests.

If the Asian carp does get into the Great Lakes everyone will know who to blame. There will be a nasty political fallout. One could argue that is already happening. After the 15-month old Great Lakes Compact was signed into law bringing all of the Great Lakes together in a unified act of legislation, we are becoming divided. It didn't have to end up this way. We could have worked together to try to stop the carp and there wouldn't be a scapegoat, instead it is just politics as usual.

Asian carp DNA found in Lake Michigan; Supreme Court rejects remedy

Supreme Court turns down Asian carp remedy

Carp-fighting lawsuit doesn't aim to flood Chicago

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