NEW YORK TIMES – The U.S. Supreme Court decided Friday not to hear a dispute between Illinois and some of its neighboring Great Lakes states — but it could still take it up as early as next week.
The dispute is over the Asian Carp, a big, ugly fish that the states and conservationists want to keep from getting into the Great Lakes.
With the huge, voracious invasive species of fish getting ever closer to entering Lake Michigan through Chicago, Michigan, with the support of six other Great Lakes states, is asking the Supreme Court to order the closure of navigational locks between Lake Michigan and the Chicago and Calumet rivers.
The petition asks the Supreme Court to reopen an 88-year-old lawsuit over Chicago’s diversion of water from Lake Michigan.
History Of The Lawsuit
In 1900, the city of Chicago reversed the flow of the Chicago River. It was a remarkable engineering feat for its time, utilizing canals dug by man, mule and dynamite so the city could send its sewage and industrial pollution away from its drinking water source in Lake Michigan.
The man-made waterways also established a vital shipping connection between the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes.
But other Great Lakes states sued in 1922 over concerns the diversion would reduce Lake Michigan water levels.
After decades of squabbling and negotiations, the state agreed to a consent decree in which the Supreme Court ruled Chicago could continue to flush Lake Michigan water out of the Great Lakes watershed, but limiting Chicago’s diversion to no more than 2.1 billion gallons a day.
But the high court left open the possibility that the states could reopen the case if they could show that the Chicago water diversion is causing harm.
Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox says that harm is arriving in the form of Asian carp, a prolific, invasive species of fish that can grow to be 4 feet long and weigh up to 100 pounds.
“They devour plankton, algae and other material on such a large volume that they have the potential of destroying every Great Lakes fishery, whether it’s Lake Michigan, Superior, Erie, Ontario or Huron,” Cox says.
For the complete story of the Asian Carp read the entire New York Times article.