Court Won’t Force Chicago To Close Shipping Locks To Fight Asian Carp

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — The U.S. Supreme Court refused Monday to order emergency measures that might prevent Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes, despite a warning that the exotic fish pose a "dire threat" to the region's environment and economy.

Michigan and four neighboring states wanted the Army Corps of Engineers to install nets in two Chicago-area rivers and to expedite a study of permanent steps to head off an invasion by bighead and silver carp, which have advanced up the Mississippi River and its tributaries to within 55 miles of Lake Michigan. Scientists say if the large, prolific carp spread widely in the lakes, they could starve out native species and devastate the $7 billion fishing industry.

The justices' ruling, which was issued without comment, was their fourth rejection of pleas by the states for interim steps – including closure of navigational locks in the Chicago waterways – while their lawsuit against the corps is pending in a federal district court.

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