Wednesday, August 18, 2010

IL Federal Court To Hear Asian Carp Case August 23

Aug 17: Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox announced that a Federal judge has scheduled the first hearing on the merits of Michigan's lawsuit addressing the threat of Asian carp, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Attorneys general from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Ohio have joined Cox in the lawsuit, which was filed July 19, 2010 due to what Cox calls "the Army Corps' dismal record of inaction in confronting Asian carp."  Judge Robert Dow, Jr. confirmed that the first hearing in the case will be on Monday, August 23, 2010, with two days reserved for live testimony during the week of August 30, 2010, if the Court determines it is needed.

    Cox said, "The future of our water-based economy and environment is hanging in the balance. The Great Lakes will now get their day in court." At the hearing, Judge Dow will consider Michigan's motion for Preliminary Injunction, which calls for several short-term responses to the Asian carp threat. Michigan's motion calls for the temporary closure of the O'Brien and Chicago Locks and blocking other pathways in the Chicago water system, except as needed to protect public health and safety, among other actions.  
    Cox also noted a story published by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that seriously questions the idea that a three-foot long, 20-pound mature bighead Asian carp recently found in Lake Calumet, past all barriers, was "planted" there by humans [See WIMS 8/10/10]. The story, entitled "Carp explanation may be a fish story," says that "facts are coming to light that indicate Illinois officials may have stretched their own science to sell a whopper of a fish tale." 

    Cox said the Michigan lawsuit is supported by affidavits from two experts: Dr. Tammy Newcomb of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment (MDNRE) and Dr. John C. Taylor of Wayne State University. Both experts are prepared to testify, if called. The lawsuit calls for the Corps to use all available efforts to block Asian carp passage in the waterways linked to Lake Michigan. Earlier this year, Cox petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene to address the threat of Asian carp. Although the Supreme Court declined the take up the case but did not rule on the merits of the legal claims by Michigan and other Great Lakes states.
    Access a release from the AG (click here).

New, Updated Environment Canada Great Lakes Website

Aug 18: Environment Canada announced it has launched a new, updated Great Lakes website. The new site includes: Information about the state of the Great Lakes in the How are the Great Lakes Doing?; Information about Remedial Action Plans, Lakewide Management Plans, the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and the Canada-Ontario Agreement in the Restoring and Protecting the Great Lakes; and Maps, publications and science information in the Facts and Information. The new site also features a Great Lakes area within the Environment Canada Publications Database. The searchable database allows users to instantly receive PDF copies of public-friendly documents and reports that Environment Canada has participated in, including the most recent Lakewide Management Plan 2010 Reports. 
   Access the updated website (click here).