Lock Closure ‘Not The Right Solution’

May 27, 2010

Massive fish kill yields no carp, proponents concede lock closure wrong step

SPRINGFIELD, Ill., May 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Following a one week lock closure to accommodate a fish kill on a two mile stretch of the Little Calumet River in search of Asian carp, none of the invasive species was found. As a result, proponents of lock closure now acknowledge their call for lock closure was unwarranted. Nick Schroeck, director of the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center in Detroit admits, “Perhaps we can concede that asking for an injunction to close the locks was not the right solution.” Area businesses and industry leaders wonder if additional economic disruption lies ahead.

“Hopefully the recent search puts an end to the extreme calls for permanent lock closure in the CAWS,” said Mark Biel, executive director of the Chemical Industry Council of Illinois. “This past week’s closure alone cost taxpayers $1.5 million, and businesses in the area felt the impact as well. In an average week, the affected locks transport 140,000 tons of valuable commodities that fuel job creation and growth throughout the Midwest and Mississippi Valley. Tourism, recreational users, and businesses shipping goods along the river are all affected by these sporadic closures.

“This latest fish kill – where out of over 11,000 dead fish totaling over 100,000 pounds not one Asian Carp was found – should strengthen faith in the existing barriers. None of us want to see Asian carp in the Great Lakes. What concerns me is a few are still calling for the economically devastating separation of the Great Lakes from the Mississippi Watershed when plenty of other options exist. What good does it do if we destroy the village to save it? I think I speak not only for the members of our coalition but also regional taxpayers and businesses, when I say enough is enough.”

Un-Lock Our Jobs is a coalition dedicated to protecting the essential waterway connection between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River corridor. A project of the Chemical Industry Council of Illinois, coalition members represent agriculture, business, labor, river communities, and concerned citizens working towards a comprehensive solution to stop the spread of Asian carp, while leaving the Chicago locks open to commerce.

The locks in question provide the gateway for over 30 million tons of cargo annually up and down the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers. The estimated cost of lock closure has been as high as $4.7 billion in the next twenty years, prompting the coalition to fight for alternatives. There are over 30 other barrier methods yet to be explored that do not cause the same economic harm to the Chicago area, the state of Illinois, and all states that rely on the inland waterways.

To speak with Mr. Biel or any Un-Lock Our Jobs experts, please contact Lisa Burgess at lisa@unlockourjobs.org or (202) 257-0983.

The Chemical Industry Council of Illinois (CICI) is a statewide trade association whose goals are to ensure the viability and promote the interests of the chemical industry. CICI was founded in 1951 with 16 members. Currently, there are 209 members representing over 700 facilities in Illinois. CICI members employ over 48,000 people in Illinois that make an average wage of $81,400.

SOURCE Un-Lock Our Jobs

Source: newswire

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