Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Are 800,000 Great Lakes jobs at risk?

Asian carp are invading the Great Lakes, jeopardizing the health of native Great Lakes species and 800,000 Michigan jobs, says Attorney General Mike Cox.

The Associated Press reports Cox along with the attorneys general of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Ohio sent a joint letter to President Obama. The letter sent Monday requests a White House meeting to discuss preventing the Asian carp from further invasion.

The attorneys general hope talks will lead to the closure of some Chicago locks, which could prevent the spread of Asian carps.

However, the White House refuses to close the locks, reports because in court papers the White House explained this could endanger public safety and disrupt local commerce. The closure would likely disrupt Coast Guard operations in the Chicago area.

Additionally, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has said closing the Chicago locks could harm the Chicago-area economy, as reported by

Salmon Unlimited, an Illinois not-for-profit organization representing sport fishing interests in southern Lake Michigan and its tributaries, supports the closing of the locks. In a statement reported in a Chicago Sun Times blog, the organization states, “At risk is a $7.5 billion sport fishing industry located in the Great Lakes, and according to the biologists, the fish are now beyond the locks. It is our opinions that immediate action is required and closing the locks will not only slow the progress of the Asian carp, but will also increase the urgency of our government to decide on a more encompassing solution.”

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