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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Close the Locks

Asian Carp have been found in Calumet Lake; within 6 miles of Lake Michigan, past the electric barriers in the Chicago Ship and Sanitary Canal that are supposed to keep them from getting to the lake.

A few months ago the President and the Interior Department, along with the courts; shot down a multi-state effort to get the locks on the Chicago Canal shut, to keep the carp out of the Great Lakes.

Now, considering the barrier isn't working; and using the President's own logic on the environment; it's time to shut the locks. You see earlier this week the Government cried in court that the BP disaster should require that all other deep water operations be stopped, just in case. So, shouldn't we also shut the locks? Shouldn't we protect the 7 billion dollar a year Great Lakes fishing industry from the Asian Carp? Just in case there are more of them this side of the barrier.

Here's the problem with doing the right thing, it would end up costing a folks in the shipping industry, who use the canal to get goods to and from the Gulf coast via the canal, Des Plaines River and the Mississippi river. There are other methods, such as rail, or other directions, like the St. Lawrence Seaway, but they are more expensive and take longer.

That would get pressure put on Chicago pols by folks who usually give them lots of money, the unions that work those shipping barges. Politicians hate to have their donors hold back money, so they will pressure the Interior Department to keep the locks open.

So, while the President tells us how much he wants to avoid an ecological and environmental disaster on the Gulf Coast, he will ignore an impending disaster in the Great Lakes area to avoid pissing off part of his money base.

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