SPRINGFIELD, IL – Today marks the final opportunity for parties involved in the lawsuit filed by several states’ demanding lock closure in the Chicago Area Waterway System to submit closing arguments and briefs to the judge. The closing arguments provided by the plaintiff state attorneys general this week reiterate that their case depends entirely on unproven eDNA testing methods and the discovery of a single fish in Lake Calumet, likely transported by humans. Throughout the trial, the Great Lakes Attorneys General have failed to produce any evidence to support their claim that continued operation of the locks poses a public nuisance.
“This frivolous lawsuit has only shed more light on the state’s complete lack of evidence supporting lock closure,” said Mark Biel, executive director of the Chemical Industry Council of Illinois and chair of the UnLock Our Jobs coalition. “The plaintiff’s case is based on flawed arguments. There is no evidence the barriers in the Chicago Area Waterway System have failed, no evidence that economic or ecological harm to the Great Lakes is imminent and most importantly, no evidence that lock closure would reduce the risks to the Great Lakes. So while the Army Corps of Engineers and other government agencies rely on the opinion of experts, the plaintiff states continue to rely solely on speculation and fear mongering in this matter. The final briefs submitted today only further expose the fact that their arguments are completely without merit.”
A ruling from the court is expected in the next few weeks. Commenting on the most likely outcome, Mr. Biel continued, “I’m confident the judge will recognize that fear and speculation are not enough to justify the economic impacts that come with lock closure. This lawsuit is a distraction from the goal we are all ultimately trying to reach – a comprehensive solution to the threat posed by Asian carp. Spending precious time and money on legal action is diverting resources from control and research efforts. The U.S. Supreme Court has already twice thrown this case out; perhaps they think the third time’s the charm.”
To speak with Mark Biel or other UnLock Our Jobs experts, please contact Lisa Burgess at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 257-0983.
UnLock 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.