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Carp, shipping and a lawsuit

December 3, 2009

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and five environmental groups are threatening to sue the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to try to prevent an ecological disaster on Lake Michigan—and her suit affects shipping through Indiana.

They want to force the Corps to close three locks on the waterway connecting Lake Michigan with the Mississippi River to stop the invasive Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes. Read a story about it here.

The carp, which grow to 100 pounds and are known for jumping into the air when boats pass, were brought to fish farms in the South, but then escaped. Now they’ve migrated through an electrical barrier in the waterway near Chicago.

If the fish reach Lake Michigan, lots of native species would be wiped out by the competition, Granholm and the environmental groups say.

Not many credible people argue the fish wouldn’t a huge problem for the Great Lakes. But the shipping industry warns that costs and inconvenience would skyrocket if barges couldn’t move grain, steel and other commodities through the waterway.

Which side are you on? Should the waterway be closed to protect the lakes or should shipping continue as-is? There appears to be little middle ground.

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