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Van Hollen Joins Great Lakes States Attorneys General in Demanding Additional Action to Stop Asian Carp Threat


MADISON - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announces today that his office has sent a letter to Major General John Peabody of the United States Army Corps of Engineers demanding that the Army Corps take certain specific actions regarding the imminent Asian Carp crisis in the Great Lakes. 


"Asian Carp pose an enormous economic and environmental threat to the Great Lakes and Wisconsin specifically," said Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen. "The Asian Carp invasion must be stopped."


The letter demands five things.  First, the letter demands that the Army Corps take more comprehensive action more quickly, commensurate it with the urgency and magnitude of the threat.  Second, the letter requests that the Army Corps provide specific information about what is and is not being done and why.  Third, the states are requesting that the Army Corps include the knowledgeable natural resource experts in the Great Lakes states in the regional coordinating committee.  Fourth, the states have demanded that the Army Corps produce certain documents essential to a comprehensive understanding of the process. And fifth, the letter demands that planning for a permanent solution be accelerated for physically separating the Chicago area water system that is infested with Asian Carp from Lake Michigan.


The letter acknowledges that the federal government has broad legal authority to take emergency action ranging from closure of locks to killing fish in order to prevent the migration of Asian Carp through the Chicago area waterway system into the Great Lakes.  The states are demanding that the Army Corps move quickly to take this action and use its legal authority to take immediate measures to prevent the movement of Asian Carp into the Great Lakes.  The states note that eDNA evidence shows that the Asian Carp have already moved lakeward of the electric barrier system in the Chicago area waterway system.  The states demand that additional physical barriers be put in place to deter adult fish passage such as fine mesh screens inline with the gates at the Chicago and O'Brien Locks and changes in lock, gate, and pumping operations.


Finally, the states demand some necessary short-term actions including applying Rotenone, a poison, at all locations where eDNA tests have indicated the presence of Asian Carp, including the Grant Calumet River in Calumet Harbor and the north branch of the Chicago River.  The states continue to demand closing the O'Brien and Chicago Locks except as needed to protect public health and safety, and closing the gates in the lock and dam system except as needed to protect public health and safety.  The states continue to demand that planning for a more comprehensive and permanent solution be accelerated and that at this stage no delays can be justified.


Great Lakes states, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, joined earlier this year in requesting that the U.S. Supreme Court order the Army Corps of Engineers and the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal Authority to close the locks and gates in order to prevent the migration of Asian Carp into the Great Lakes.  The request was made as an immediate emergency fix while the agencies and the states could cooperatively come up with a permanent, long term solution.


On April 26, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the request.  The attorneys general of the impacted Great Lakes states continue to work together and are considering both negotiations and litigation as next steps to prevent the invasion.


The letter is signed by the Attorneys General of Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and other Great Lakes states. A copy of the letter is available at the bottom of the page


A list of the documents requested from the Department of the Army and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is available at:



2010 file: