Monday, April 12, 2010
Jim Farrell, executive director of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce's Infrastructure Council said, "It is the Chamber's hope that this study will bring some well-reasoned perspective to a debate that has been fueled by rhetoric from the state of Michigan. The Schwieterman study shows, through well-reasoned economics, that closing these locks will have a devastating affect on our local economy, resulting in the loss of potentially hundreds of area jobs and hurting a range of industries and services."
The economic debate on closing of the Chicago and O'Brien locks has recently been reliant on Michigan's 'Taylor and Roach' study, which has since been peer reviewed and proven unscientific and inaccurate. The Illinois Chamber of Commerce released three independent critiques of the "Taylor and Roach" report last week. Farrell said, "Beyond the economics, we question the science as well. The eDNA test cited in claims that Asian Carp are above the electric barrier was only recently developed within the past year, and has not had the benefit of peer review to determine its reliability or accuracy. Essentially, the Asian Carp debate has been fueled by an unscientific economic analysis and an experimental, eDNA test. This hardly seems like sufficient evidence to bring the most environmentally friendly mode of transportation and a billion-dollar industry to a halt."
The Chamber indicated that two weeks of recent targeted fishing in areas above the electronic barrier yielded zero Asian Carp, calling into question the original eDNA testing mechanism used to detect the Carp's existence. According to Farrell, "The Illinois Department of Natural Resources used a very sound scientific approach which yielded Asian Carp some 50 miles from Lake Michigan, but none where eDNA had indicated in the Chicago Area Waterways." The Schwieterman report concludes that the closure of the locks would result in "enormous financial losses" resulting from added transportation costs and losses to commercial shipping, recreational boating, commercial cruises and tours, and public protection.
Access a release from the IL Chamber of Commerce with further details (click here). Access the complete Schwieterman report (click here). Access a release from Michigan Attorney General on the Michigan study (click here). Access the Michigan study submitted as part of the Attorney Generals filings (click here, see appendix).