Tuesday, March 23, 2010

MI Officials React To Supreme Court Carp Decision

Mar 22: Michigan's Governor Granholm and Lieutenant Governor John Cherry issued a statement on the U.S. Supreme Court's rejection of the State's emergency request to close shipping locks in Chicago to protect the Great Lakes from Asian carp [See WIMS 3/22/10]. According to the statement, "While we continue the legal battle and await the Court's ruling on our remaining motions, we must increase our efforts with other branches of the federal government to physically separate the Mississippi River watershed from the Great Lakes basin to prevent Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes. The Asian carp poses a significant threat to the Great Lakes, and it is imperative that the federal government prioritize and advance a solution that separates these two watersheds. The current plan to continuously poison and electro-shock the canal to remove carp is not sustainable, and a permanent physical barrier must be considered to protect the $16 billion recreational boating and fishing industry in the Great Lakes region. Without an ecological separation of the Mississippi River watershed and the Great Lakes, we increase the risk of Asian carp entering our waters, causing great harm to businesses large and small that rely on the tourism that recreational boating and fishing bring to our region."
    U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) also issued a statement on the Supreme Court decision. Senator Stabenow introduced the Carp Act along with Representative Dave Camp (R-MI) in January, which calls for the immediate closure of the locks. Senator Stabenow said, "I am deeply concerned that for a second time the Supreme Court has refused to order a temporary closure of two Chicago-area locks. It's clear that Asian carp pose an immediate threat to the Great Lakes and our fishing and boating industry, putting thousands of Michigan jobs at risk. That's why we must use every possible tool to prevent the spread of Asian carp into Lake Michigan, including the closure of the Chicago-area locks. I will continue working with the Administration, federal agencies, and members of the Michigan delegation on decisive short- and long-term solutions to keep the invasive species out of our waterways." Representative Dave Camp issued a statement saying, "This decision threatens the Great Lakes and the $7.5 billion fishing industry and the 800,000 jobs they support. We must act now, and immediately close the Chicago-area Locks to stop Asian Carp from reaching the Great Lakes."
    In a brief statement from Michigan Attorney General Michael Cox he said, "We will continue to focus on the reopening of the diversion case in April, with the goal of developing an effective plan to protect the entire Great Lakes region from the devastating threat of Asian carp." He said the Supreme Court has scheduled an April 16th review of Michigan's request for hearings to develop a long-term solution to the crisis that will protect the ecology and economy of the Great Lakes." 
    While the High Court denied the Michigan request for a Motion for Preliminary Injunction the Attorney General also filed a petition requesting the Court to reopen the ongoing legal case with the State and Illinois and issue a Supplemental Decree. Michigan has asked the Court to declare that to the extent the facilities created, operated, and maintained by Illinois et al, in connection with the diversion now allow the introduction of harmful aquatic invasive species into Lake Michigan and other connected waters and they constitute a public nuisance. Michigan asserts that, "Those facilities create a threat of irreparable injury to natural resources held in trust by the State of Michigan, as well as riparian and other rights of Michigan and its citizens."

    Michigan indicates that the State of Illinois "was and remains an indispensable party in any proceeding to resolve the present dispute between Michigan and the other parties concerning the existence of a continuing public nuisance and the equitable relief sought by Michigan to prevent and abate it. Accordingly, since by law, this Court has 'original and exclusive jurisdiction of all controversies between two or more states,'  there is no other forum in which Michigan may obtain the equitable relief it seeks."

    Access Granholm-Cherry statement (click here). Access the Stabenow statement (click here). Access the Camp statement (click here). Access a release from AG Cox (click here). Access links to Michigan's filings in the case (click here). Access all of the filings in the case (click here).