CHICAGO - Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said he and his counterparts in 16 other states want to demand quicker federal action on preventing invasive species such as Asian carp from migrating between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds.
Schuette said a coalition of state attorneys general from West Virginia to Nevada would push Congress and the Army Corps of Engineers to expedite a plan for severing the link between the two drainage basins in Chicago rivers and canals.
Supporters said that it is the only way to end species invasions that have disrupted aquatic ecosystems and cost billions in damages in both basins. Local cargo shippers and their allies said the move would cause massive flooding and job losses in the Chicago area.
The Corps of Engineers has promised to conclude by 2015 a long-range study of methods to cut off potential avenues for species to transfer between the two basins, including separating them by installing dams.
Environmental activists, state and local officials, Indian tribes, and others across most of the Great Lakes region have begged the Corps to move faster.
It is unclear what practical effect the attorneys generals’ campaign could have.