Minnesota joins multistate fight against carp migration

Chris Rizo Dec. 29, 2009, 3:20am

Lori Swanson (D-Minn.)

Mike Cox (R-Mich.)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (Legal Newsline)-Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson has joined the multistate legal fight to keep Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes.

The Democrat has joined the attorneys general from Michigan and Ohio in asking the U.S. Supreme Court to close some Chicago-area locks connecting Illinois waterways to Lake Michigan.

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

Swanson and the other attorneys general have said that if the invasive species is allowed to migrate into the Great Lakes it could ravage the regional fishing economy.

"If they invade the Great Lakes, they will have access to the rivers and tributaries that feed into the Great Lakes, thereby threatening inland waters. This would be extremely destructive to Minnesota's economy and way of life, where inland fishing is an important recreational and economic pursuit. Indeed, Minnesota is known as 'The Land of 10,000 Lakes,' and the recreational fishing in Minnesota alone is a $2.725 billion per year industry," Swanson said in court papers.

Last week, Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox, a Republican, announced he was asking the U.S. high court to force Illinois officials to take action against the carp migration.

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

Republican Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has said he intends to back Michigan's legal effort.

"I am currently preparing Wisconsin's response to the United States Supreme Court supporting Michigan's filing," Van Hollen said in a statement. "I remain deeply concerned about this matter and intend to present the best case to protect Lake Michigan and those of us who rely upon and cherish this resource," he added.

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

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