Cox Blasts Army Corps for Inadequate Action to Combat Asian Carp
Written by Attorney General Mike Cox   
Wednesday, 19 May 2010 18:31
Today Attorney General Mike Cox, along with the four other Great Lakes Attorneys General who supported his U.S. Supreme Court lawsuit, sent a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers demanding that the agency live up to its commitments to address the looming Asian carp invasion [Download .pdf of letter].  The Attorneys General repeated their request that the Corps take immediate and comprehensive actions to block the invasive fish from entering the Great Lakes.

“The Corps told the Supreme Court it had the authority, the resources and a plan to keep Asian carp from infesting the Great Lakes,” said Cox.  “We’re still waiting.  It’s long past time for the Corps to show a sense of urgency on behalf of the job-makers who depend on the health of the Great Lakes. The plan to apply fish poison for the first time in nearly six months – in just one of the areas that have tested positive for Asian carp eDNA – is not enough. They need to take real action on all fronts.”

In the letter, Cox and the Attorneys General of Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin urge the Corps to “take more comprehensive and effective action, and to act more quickly.”  The letter repeats the demand that the Corps take immediate measures to block Asian carp currently in the Chicago waterway system from entering the Great Lakes, and to accelerate plans to permanently separate the waterways from Lake Michigan.

The Attorneys General also criticize the lack of urgency from the Corps, highlighted by the inadequacy of the recently announced measures it is undertaking.   These include starting construction of an already planned project, a barrier between the Des Plaines River and I&M Canal, that does nothing to address carp now threatening the Great Lakes, and electro-fishing, netting, and rotenone application in only some of the areas of the waterway system that have tested positive for Asian carp.

Cox continued, “While these actions could be part of a comprehensive plan to address this emergency, they are inadequate by themselves.  Their own experts have said that conventional fishing techniques, like electro-fishing are ineffective, and I simply don’t understand why rotenone isn’t being applied in all of the areas where carp eDNA has been found.”

In the Army Corps’ Asian Carp Control Strategy Framework released last January, the Corps called for a new schedule to reduce the frequency of lock openings by April 30, 2010.  Cox said that this plan, although inadequate, has not yet been put in place.  In fact, the revised framework released this month drastically extends the deadline for implementation by eight months, from April 30, 2010 to “End of 2010.” 

Cox and the other Attorneys General requested that the Corps and the US Fish and Wildlife Service publicly disclose documents underlying the Asian Carp Control Strategy Framework, including details of monitoring, evaluation of options and proposed actions.  [Download a .pdf of the document request]

"Given what is at stake here, the citizens of all of the Great Lakes States need to be able to see, in detail, what the responsible federal agencies are and are not doing, and why, to protect the Lakes from Asian carp," Cox said.

Cox said Michigan and citizens and residents across the Great Lakes region should continue to assist him in putting pressure on the federal government by calling the White House at 202-456-1414, signing an online petition to protect the Lakes at and joining the discussion at the page on Facebook.

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