Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox said he is extremely disappointed that the United States Supreme Court declined to immediately close Chicago-area locks that could stop Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes, but is pleased that Michigan's fight to reopen the Chicago Diversion case will continue. Cox also said President Obama, who failed to respond to Cox's previous request for an Asian carp conference, must now act and use his powers to close the locks because Asian carp eDNA continues to turn up near Lake Michigan.
"I am extremely disappointed the Supreme Court did not push the pause button on this crisis until an effective plan is in place," said Cox. "While the injunction would have been an extraordinary step by the court, Michigan and the other Great Lakes states are facing an extraordinary crisis that could forever alter the Lakes, permanently killing thousands of jobs at a time when families can least afford it."
Cox noted that the court did not address Michigan's request to reopen the Chicago Diversion case and therefore that portion of the case continues. Michigan, which is supported by Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, seeks a solution to the crisis that will protect the ecology and economy of the Great Lakes. Briefs in that portion of the case are due by February 19.
Cox also said that President Obama, who pledged a zero tolerance policy for new invasive species in the Great Lakes, should act immediately to at least temporarily close the locks. "President Obama said he would not tolerate new threats to the Great Lakes, yet he has left the front door to Lake Michigan wide open," Cox continued. "Billions in economic activity and 800,000 Michigan jobs connected with the health of the Lakes are at risk. His indifference is just stunning."
If President Obama continues to favor Illinois at the expense of other states, Cox said Michigan and the other states backing his efforts will need help from Congress. He praised the bi-partisan efforts of Michigan's Congressional delegation on the issue, including Rep. Candice Miller, Rep. Vern Ehlers, Rep. Dave Camp, and Senators Levin and Stabenow.
Cox also said that public pressure on President Obama will play a vital role in changing the Obama administration's position. He urged citizens to sign an online petition to protect the Lakes at www.StopAsianCarp.com.
Though the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said allowing Asian carp into the Great Lakes would be an "ecological and economic disaster," the Obama administration and Illinois officials are fighting against Cox's efforts to protect the Lakes.
Since filing his suit on December 21, 2009, Cox has been joined by Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Ontario. The State of Indiana has also expressed support for Michigan's action.
Attorney General Cox's 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, causing Cox to call for immediate action to once and for all address the potential devastation of the Great Lakes, before it is too late. Earlier this week the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers admitted finding additional carp DNA less than a mile from Lake Michigan.