IL Atty Gen Madigan responds to Asian carp lawsuit
Written by Chicago Tribune   
Tuesday, 05 January 2010 20:04
IL Attorney General Lisa Madigan today filed a response to Michigan's Asian carp lawsuit. To read the full response, click here. For those who don't want to read through the 51 pages of legal jargon but still want to know how this affects consumers, the Problem Solver has chosen some highlights that summarize the response: "Illinois takes this threatened harm extremely seriously, for it has much to lose from any degradation of the Great Lakes ecology, and the state has gone to great lengths to prevent the Asian carp from entering Lake Michigan. But Michigan's effort to show that it will suffer irreparable harm without the injunction fails for two reasons. First, Michigan offers no substantial evidence that the threatened injury is more than speculative at this time. Second, Michigan's delay in seeking closure of the locks and sluice gates -- indeed, Michigan agreed to the alternate remedial measures advocated for and implemented by Illinois -- counsel against a finding that Michigan's requested interlocutory relief is truly necessary. Finally, Michigan, which seriously downplays the severe public health, safety, environmental, and economic harms that its requested relief will cause, also fails to demonstrate that the balance of equities and public interest weigh in its favor. Accordingly, Michigan is unable to show that it is entitled to the extraordinary relief it requests. That Michigan for years worked cooperatively with Illinois and the other Great Lakes States to address the Asian carp threat through alternate remedial measures -- the construction of the electric barrier, in particular -- indicates that any threat of irreparable harm is speculative or, at worst, that the 'emergency' is of Michigan's own making. As for the economic impact of Michigan's request, the Chicago waterway system comprises one of the nation's busiest commercial and recreational waterways, handling more than 50,000 vessels and 900,000 passengers annually. More than $16 billion worth of cargo ... are transported each year in and out of Illinois by river barge. Dozens of facilities receive cargo exclusively or primarily by water and lack the physical infrastructure necessary to receive or distribute large amounts of goods by rail or truck. Thus, not only would closure of the locks devastate the commercial navigation industry ... and the passenger vessel business ... but even a temporary closure would have a disastrous effect on the economy in general and, in particular, on the grain, steel, energy, and construction industries. The resulting higher costs will lead to an inevitable loss of jobs and higher prices for businesses, local governments, and consumers. Michigan's claim that 'the primary impact will be felt by private individuals or companies who use the locks' should not be credited. The relief it seeks, if granted, will detrimentally impact not only private individuals but the public throughout the Midwest and beyond. Conclusion: For the foregoing reasons, the State of Illinois respectfully requests that the court deny Michigan's motion for preliminary injunction."
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