Thursday, January 21, 2010

Administration Agrees To Asian Carp Summit With States

Jan 20: Responding quickly to requests from Governors Granholm (MI) and Doyle (WI) regarding a summit between Great Lakes governors and senior White House officials to identify a rapid response to the threat of Asian carp, Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality called for a meeting in early February. Sutley said, "I welcome the opportunity to meet with the Great Lakes Governors on this important issue. . . Today, as we see the threat and potential impact of Asian carp entering the Great Lakes, we have an opportunity to work together to prevent environmental and economic damage before it happens." The Governors' requested the meeting in a letter to President Obama on January 19 [See WIMS 1/20/10].

In a letter to the Governors, Sutley suggested a meeting during the first week of February, either in the Midwest or in Washington DC with the Great Lakes Governors or their designees. She said the meeting should "discuss the strategy to combat the spread of Asian carp and ensure coordination and the most effective response across all levels of government to respond to this threat. In keeping with the strong tradition of regional cooperation, I also hope to discuss ways in which we can continue and strengthen the Federal-State partnership to protect the Great Lakes."

On January 19, the multi-agency Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee (RCC) announced that it had received new information from the University of Notre Dame about one positive environmental DNA result for silver carp in Calumet Harbor approximately one-half mile north of the Calumet River and one more at a location in the Calumet River north of O’Brien Lock. These samples were collected on December 8 and recently processed. Two previous tests of multiple water samples from this area were negative.

Also on January 19, the U.S. Supreme Court denied request for a preliminary injunction sought by Michigan and other Great Lakes states calling for the emergency closure of the locks in the Chicago Shipping Canal to stop the spread of Asian Carp into the Great Lakes [See WIMS 1/19/10]. The Obama Administration and the State of Illinois opposed the emergency closure and the U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan said in her filings with the High Court that Michigan's "ultimate goal is a permanent injunction separating the Great Lakes from the Mississippi River system, undoing a connection that for well over 100 years has served the important purposes of flood control, navigation, commerce, and sanitation."

She said, "A host of responsible actors -- federal, state, and even international -- are deeply and intensely engaged in studying all the considerations involved in preventing the transmission of invasive species through that connection. For this Court to pretermit that process and to decree that the answer is to sever the connection, based on a purported federal common law rule, would be altogether inappropriate. . . Nothing in federal law warrants second-guessing its expert judgment that the best information available today does not yet justify the dramatic steps Michigan demands. . . The motion for a preliminary injunction should be denied." [See WIMS 1/12/10]

Access a release and the letter to Governors (click here). Access the Michigan, Illinois and all legal filings in the case (click here). Access the Army Corps of Engineers' website for more information (click here). Access the Asian Carp Management website for extensive information (click here).