Court Hears Arguments In Great Lakes Asian Carp Suit

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On August 23, 2010, Judge Robert Dow Jr. heard arguments on the lawsuit filed by five Great Lakes Attorneys General demanding immediate closure of the Chicago area locks and, ultimately, permanent separation of Great Lakes from the Mississippi River Valley.

Judge Dow accepted groups who applied to intervene on behalf of the U.S Army Corps of Engineers, the defendants in the lawsuit. Interveners include the City of Chicago, Wendella Sightseeing and a coalition made up of the American Waterways Operators, The Illinois Chamber of Commerce, Chemical Industry Council of Illinois, Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, Illinois Farm Bureau and Illinois Corn Growers Association.

The UnLock Our Jobs coalition contends this lawsuit is without merit; based on unproven science and misleading economic impact statistics. As arguments continue, the plaintiffs’ arguments and flawed accusations will be under a microscope. Their suit relies on unproven eDNA testing methods and the discovery of one fish in Lake Calumet that USIC scientists recently determined was introduced by human transport.

“Scientists from Southern Illinois University have already determined that the single Asian carp found in Lake Calumet likely was transported there at a young age through human transport,” said Mark Biel, executive director of the Chemical Industry Council of Illinois. “This is hardly evidence of an impending invasion of Asian carp into the Great Lakes. In fact, it’s further evidence that existing barriers are working effectively. The lawsuit is inherently flawed. When the states have to back up their accusations and numbers this week, they’re arguments will simply fall apart.”

Lisa Frede, director of regulatory affairs for the Chemical Industry Council of Illinois responded to the eDNA claims stating that, “This testing does not meet any scientific standard necessary for use as evidence in court. It has been called experimental and has not been subjected to peer review.  Setting aside the legal standards for eDNA — the facts speak for themselves. Despite the millions of dollars and hundreds of man hours spent on fish kills and sampling activities, only one lone Asian carp has been found.”

Two previous suits filed with the U.S. Supreme Court by Greats Lakes Attorneys General were ultimately thrown out.

source: www.