Gov. Pat Quinn said he was open to separating Chicago's waterways that hook up the Mississippi River to the Great Lakes in efforts to keep Asian carp and
other invasive species from infiltrating the massive body of freshwater.
I think we have to separate the basins," Quinn said at the Council of
Great Lakes Governors Leadership Summit this weekend. "I really feel
that is the ultimate solution. We have to do it."
The Army Corps
of Engineers, Chicago water authorities and Illinois have already faced
lawsuits from five states as a result of their sluggish response to the risk
of Asian carp infesting the Great Lakes.
The state's changed
position regarding seperating the two basins was applauded by some environmentalists
and other governors at the discussion, including Michigan Gov. Rick
"I want to give Gov. Quinn credit for being proactive
about ... being open to looking at what might have been viewed as
something Illinois traditionally wasn't looking at," he said.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said he is opposed to the idea, as freighters
toting state goods to the south use the Chicago Sanitary and Ship
Canal's hook up to the Mississippi River tributaries.
that any effort to close the Chicago-area waterway system to control
the spread of Asian carp would be harmful to our economy," Pence said.
"We just simply do not believe that closing the locks is the best
approach to dealing with what I believe is a serious but manageable
issue facing the Great Lakes."
Quinn said more research is needed and called on the governors to work together to
"determine what's best for water in the 21st century."
For more on this issue, click here to see our previous coverage on the Great Lake and invasive species, like Asian carp.