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MADISON – Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that on Friday, August 13, the States of Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio and Pennsylvania filed their brief and supporting papers with the United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, in response to briefs filed by defendants U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago.
The federal district court in Chicago hearing the federal nuisance lawsuit to enjoin the introduction of Asian carp into Lake Michigan through the Chicago area waterway system scheduled for next Monday, August 23, the first arguments on the States' motion for preliminary injunction. The court also reserved Monday and Tuesday, August 30 and 31 for hearing testimony in the matter, if necessary.
The States are asking the court to immediately order defendants to implement best available methods to block the passage and to capture or kill bighead and silver carp in the Chicago waterway, including installing block nets, gates and screens, and other interim physical barriers to fish passage between the waterway and Lake Michigan, and temporarily closing and ceasing operation of the locks at the O'Brien Lock and Dam and the Chicago River Controlling Works except as needed to protect public health and safety.
“We are asking the court to order both immediate preventive and long-term solutions. In the short term, we want certain locks closed, effective barriers created to prevent continued fish migration, and Asian carp killed that have already passed the Barrier System.,” said Van Hollen. “Long-term, we think the best solution is the one nature once provided: the physical separation o the Great Lakes basin and the Mississippi river systems.”
In their submissions, the defendants argued the threat of Asian carp entering the Great Lakes is neither imminent or irreparable, that the court should favor operation of the locks as usual over implementing measures that might interfere with river commerce, and that the nuisance case itself should be dismissed because it presents a political question not suited for the courts and the action is displaced by federal laws related to the problem, such as one setting up an electric barrier demonstration project.
The States' brief responds to all defendants' arguments opposing the preliminary injunction. That brief and accompanying papers can be viewed at
"We look forward to our chance to be heard in court next Monday," Van Hollen said.