A federal judge Thursday turned down a plea from five states to order the immediate closure of shipping locks on Chicago-area waterways to prevent Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes, where scientists fear they could disrupt the food chain and starve out other fish.
U.S. District Judge Robert Dow said the states had failed to show that closing the locks immediately was essential to block the huge, voracious carp’s path to Lake Michigan. He sided with opponents who argued that the locks are essential to commerce and flood control.
The decision does not end a lawsuit filed by Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin that seeks lock closure and other measures to keep the unwanted invaders out of the lakes. But Dow’s refusal to issue a preliminary injunction appears to settle the lock issue for the foreseeable future.
Officials in Michigan and Wisconsin said they were disappointed and would discuss with the other states whether to appeal the ruling or continue the legal battle. A hearing on the status of the suit is scheduled for Jan. 7.