Hysterical? Questionable DNA? Ever seen a 100 plus pound flying fish? Even if scientists didn’t find fish DNA beyond the Electric Barrier in the Chicago Sanitary and Shipping Canal -just miles from the entry to Lake Michigan (which they did)- the fish presence in the Mississippi and Des Plaines River is enough to call for a permanent separation of the Basins.
News reports from Illinois to Los Angeles are calling the six states that are pressing a lawsuit against Illinois to keep the Asian Carp out of the lakes ecosystem: hysterical. (Apparently, reporters in LA haven’t seen UTUBE recently and viewed how the fish own the rivers they take over.) Most of the accusations are being made by those supporting a $1.5 billion local (and I mean local – like Greater Chicago) shipping and freight-hauling business. But I’m sorry, that is just a pittance when you think of the $7 billion regional fishing industry and the total destruction of the historic ecosystem of the lakes. Bloomberg News recently wrote that if the Asian Carp enter the lakes they would threaten bond ratings, cause the collapse of the region’s sport fishing industry, negatively impact tourism, devalue vacation home property, and cost millions of jobs.
The US Supreme Court is expected to take up the filing by the end of the week. Michigan was the first state to bring the lawsuit in an attempt to force Illinois to shut the locks and plan for a permanent hydrological separation of the basins. Soon after, Indiana, Ohio, New York, Minnesota and Wisconsin joined the suit. That leaves only one Great Lakes state out of the mix, Pennsylvania, but there are still a few days to go and anything is possible.
It is imperative that politics does not prevail in this case. It is also important that the truth of this dangerous situation is kept in the forefront of any and all decisions. If the Courts rule in favor of the economy they will be ruling in favor of the Great Lakes ecology because the Asian Carp are bad for both. The fish must be stopped from getting a hold in the Great Lakes system. This is not hysterical or poor science, unfortunately it is reality, and six out of seven states are all calling for the same solution. As are the 50 members of Congress – several of whom are from Illinois – who sent a letter to the US President just before Christmas.
In this case, the facts speak for themselves and it just so happens that the facts represent a crisis that could cause ecological devastation and economic hardship for an entire region. Does that make anyone feel a little hysterical? Hmmmm.