LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced that his office will continue to move forward with a lawsuit aimed at protecting the Great Lakes from invasive Asian carp. Schuette has joined four states and an Indian tribe in legal action to force the Army Corps of Engineers to quickly develop and implement plans to permanently separate the Great Lakes from Asian carp-infested Illinois waterways.
“Asian carp are knocking at the front door of the Great Lakes, and we cannot afford to wait on a federal government that fails to act. This ecological disaster has been building and building for years, with no definitive action,” said Schuette. “We need to permanently separate these two bodies of water as soon as possible. The time for talk is over; Michigan citizens have been patient for long enough, we need results.”
Attorneys for the federal government have argued that a July 2012 law passed by Congress requiring the Corps to complete, by January 2014, a study of options for permanently blocking the movement of Asian carp and other invasive species through the Chicago Area Waterway System makes litigation unnecessary. However, on October 5, 2012, the Army Corps of Engineers announced that it does not intend to recommend any separation plan within the deadline set by Congress, and instead plans years of additional study, despite the impending Asian carp invasion of the Great Lakes. Four days later, the Corps disclosed 30 new positive test results for Asian carp environmental DNA from samples collected in the Chicago Waterway. There have now been a total of 80 such positive results above the Corps’ electrical Barrier system in 2012 alone.
On October 9, 2012, Schuette’s office filed a response to the supplemental motion to dismiss in Michigan, et al v Corps of Engineers, et al before Judge John J. Tharp, Jr. in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Judge Tharp is expected to determine whether Schuette’s lawsuit can proceed later this year.
Today’s response makes clear that Schuette is continuing forward with Michigan’s lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers and the Chicago Water District, joined by attorneys general from Minnesota Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, as well as the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.
Schuette continues to fight to keep Asian Carp out of the Great Lakes on multiple fronts. For more information about the Attorney General’s efforts, please go to www.michigan.gov/ag and click “Environment.”