(reprint) Attorneys general contend government failing in Asian carp fight

REPRINT from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – story by Dan Egan

Just as another massive fish poisoning of the Chicago canal system is about to begin, Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and colleagues from four other Great Lakes states went on the attack Wednesday, claiming the federal government is failing in the fight to keep Asian carp from invading Lake Michigan.

“The migration of Asian carp remains an immediate and dire threat to the Great Lakes,” states a letter from Van Hollen and the attorneys general from Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Minnesota to the Army Corps of Engineers’ Maj. Gen. John Peabody. “The (government’s) response must be commensurate with the urgency and magnitude of that threat.”

The attorneys general want Peabody to close two navigation locks in Chicago in an attempt to establish a physical barrier between the advancing fish and the lake, a move Illinois political leaders and federal agency workers say could have dramatic economic consequences for barge operators and the industries that depend on them.

Instead, the federal government is pursuing a plan that includes poisoning a two-mile stretch of the Little Calumet River south of downtown Chicago. That operation will begin Thursday. The goal is to reduce the number of invaders and to get a better idea of how many of the giant, ecosystem-ravaging fish are swimming in the waters just south of Lake Michigan.

The poisoning is expected to last about five days, during which time boat access in the area will be restricted. But the attorneys general don’t think the federal government is doing enough to protect the Great Lakes’ $7 billion fishery from the jumping fish that can grow bigger than 50 pounds.

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(reprint) Cox, other AGs push U.S. to step up efforts to poison invasive Asian carp
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