Editorials blanket the Midwest calling for President Barack Obama to step in and do something immediately to stop the advance of the Asian carp into the Great Lakes ecosystem. While the Administration has dedicated funds to deal with the carp and promised to meet with Great Lakes Governors the first week in February, the people in the Great Lakes region do not feel like the Administration is taking the problem seriously enough.
Read what the papers and people are saying:
The Port Huron Times News Herald:The federal government’s wrong-headed response to the Asian carp invasion of the Great Lakes is one for the books — the textbooks. It provides an illuminating lesson on why fair-minded Americans are right to question Washington’s ability to protect the public interest. Our leaders, including President Barack Obama and the U.S. Supreme Court, cynically rejected appeals to close a man-made waterway that connects Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River basin. In doing so, they ignored the warnings of our best scientists.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote: Meanwhile, Great Lake governors upset about the lack of responsiveness to the carp incursion will meet with Obama administration officials at the White House next month.But why the delay? President Barack Obama’s refusal to order the locks closed is particularly perplexing. Here is a pro-active Great Lakes president who committed $475 million for a one-year restoration initiative for our 10,000-year-old liquid assets. And yet he stands idle as its latest and greatest danger swims by. The only sensible and strategic response is to shut down the waterways that link the Windy City to Lake Michigan immediately. Spend the time leading up to the White House summit ascertaining where the carp are, and the most effective method of stopping them. Then implement the plan. Anything less is a gamble that could lead to the economic and ecological ruin of our most precious resource.
The Muskegon Chronical: “These discussions are good, but they’re having trouble keeping up with the carp’s steady migration into Lake Michigan — something that has been ongoing for at least three decades. It’s past the time for action.”
Every day we wait is playing Russian roulette with the Great Lakes,” Mark Smith, project manager with the National Wildlife Federation told the Detroit News.
“When that [prevention] fails, the history of invasive species has taught us you don’t have many options,” Marc Gaden spokesman for the Great Lakes Fishery Commission told the Detroit Free Press. “What we’re missing now is a directive from the government that’s equal to the push to put a man on the moon.”
Reacting to federal officials saying that finding carp DNA doesn’t spell catastrophe, Jennifer Nalbone of Great Lakes United said to the Free Press, “There’s a whole lot to be done, and it should be done a heck of a lot faster. We can get hold of this, but the question is whether we have the willingness to do so.”
“This was supposed to be the Great Lakes president,” Wayne State University’s Noah Hall told the Detroit News. “I don’t think we’re seeing that. What we’re seeing is a Chicago president.”
While there could be lots going on behind the scenes to deal with this crisis, it isn’t apparent to the people or political leadership in the region. It is sounding more and more like folks in the Great Lakes Swing Sates are not going to be happy with anything short of an immediate temporary closure of the locks and maybe a mention during the State of the Union speech.