Waterway operators press to keep locks, ports open despite Asian carp threat

August 9, 2011

City Room and the Associated Press

(Flickr/Russ Amptmeyer)
The Illinois International Port District along the shores of Lake Michigan, south of Chicago, remains a hub of shipping activity

More than a dozen waterway operators met with the new U.S. Army Corps of Engineers commander in Chicago to express concern the migration of Asian carp could force a closure of area locks.  They say closing the locks could hurt the local economy and the industries that rely on the lakes for shipping and transport.

Other states around the Great Lakes have urged authorities to close the locks to ensure the carp can't get into Lake Michigan, which would devastate the region's fishing industry.

At Monday's gathering in Lemont, U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert told attendees the push by some to shut down the locks was a "misguided and scientifically flawed effort to stop the fish."

Biggert added that tests indicate electric barriers and other preventative measures are keeping Asian carp in Illinois from entering Lake Michigan.

The new Chicago commander of the Army corps of engineers is Col. Frederic Drummond Jr.