Ohio AG wades into carp fight

Chris Rizo Dec. 23, 2009, 3:20pm

Richard Cordray (D)

Mike Cox (R)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline) - Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray joined his counterpart in Michigan on Friday, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to help stop the migration of invasive Asian carp into the Great Lakes.

In his brief to the high court, Cordray asked the court to reopen an earlier case examining the legality of several man-made canals and waterways connecting Lake Michigan with the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers.

The waterways were constructed by the state of Illinois, and are said to provide the Asian carp with an avenue into Lake Michigan and the other Great Lakes.

"These carp present a substantial threat to the Great Lakes," Cordray told the Supreme Court. "Their rapid population growth will crowd out native fish species, impair area fisheries and disrupt the Great Lakes' fragile ecosystem."

The Democrat added: "An estimated 450,000 people fish in Ohio's waters each year, contributing some $680 million to Ohio's economy," Cordray said. "The introduction of Asian carp to this body of water would be ecologically and economically devastating."

On Monday, Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox asked the U.S. Supreme Court to force the closure of the locks in the Chicago Sanitary and Shipping Canal to block the migration of Asian carp into the Great Lakes.

The Republican attorney general and gubernatorial candidate said he wants the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, Illinois and the City of Chicago close the locks until a long-term fix to the carp crisis can be agreed upon.

For many years, the invasive bighead and silver carp have been migrating northward in the Mississippi and Illinois rivers.

"Asian carp must be stopped now because we will not have a second chance once they enter Lake Michigan," Cox said in a statement this month. "The combination of finding carp and carp DNA so close to Lake Michigan is something that should cause great concern for us all."

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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