The Obama administration announced Tuesday that it is backing Illinois in a lawsuit over how to stop Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes. Officials in Michigan, who brought the lawsuit, claim that Obama is favoring his home state.
Nerissa Michaels / Illinois River Biological Station via the Detroit free Press / AP
On Tuesday, US Solicitor General Elena Kagan asked the US Supreme Court to reject Michigan's lawsuit against Illinois. The lawsuit calls for the closure of two Chicago locks on a key commercial canal that connects Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River.
On Wednesday, Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox asked for an immediate meeting with Obama and Michigan congressional leaders to discuss the matter. He said in a public statement he “is extremely disappointed by President Obama's choice to protect the narrow interests of his home state.”
Mr. Cox says that the invasive species will put at risk $7 billion in annual revenue from Great Lakes recreational and commercial fishing and tourism.
Illinois State Attorney Lisa Madigan countered the suggestion that presidential favoritism was involved, saying by phone Wednesday that the allegaton "sounds like politics to me, that doesn’t sound substantive.”
The Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal is a historic waterway built in the 1920s to divert sewage away from Chicago. The Michigan lawsuit – which is supported by Minnesota, Wisconsin, New York, Ohio, and the Canadian province of Ontario – is based on complaints made in the 1920s that charge the canal’s unnatural diversion of water away from Lake Michigan is illegal and should be shut down. The Supreme Court declared the canal unlawful, but on four separate occasions it sought only to regulate the canal, not close it.