AGs want to talk carp with Obama

John O'Brien Jan. 26, 2010, 2:44pm


WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - Initially spurned by the U.S. Supreme Court, a group of state attorneys general are turning to President Barack Obama to talk about closing some of the Chicago locks to prevent the spread of Asian carp.

Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox and four other attorneys general want Obama to hear the concerns of job makers and families over the threat of the fish, declared to be an invasive species in 2007.

"As the attorneys general who are litigating the Asian carp controversy and have been serving on the front lines of a bi-partisan battle to protect the ecology and econoy of our region, we are formally requesting that you and your administration include us in any such meetings addressing the Asian carp emergency," the attorneys general wrote to Obama Monday.

Cox was joined in the letter by Indiana's Greg Zoeller, Ohio's Richard Cordray, Pennsylvania's Tom Corbett and Wisconsin's J.B. Van Hollen.

The justices rejected the multistate arguments for an emergency injunction in a one-sentence order last week. The high court will rule later on the merits of the case.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, a Democrat, was opposed to the closing of the locks, arguing that doing so could harm the Chicago-area economy without guaranteeing that the carp would not reach the Great Lakes.

The White House too opposed closing the locks, saying in court papers that the move would disrupt commerce and endanger public safety since the closures would disrupt the U.S. Coast Guard activities in the area.

Cox said 800,000 Michigan jobs connected to health of the Great Lakes are jeopardized by the presence of the Asian carp.

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at

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