The Illinois Chamber of Commerce-commissioned study published earlier this week estimated the Chicago region would lose $4.7 billion in economic activity over the next two decades if navigational shipping locks are closed to prevent the invasion of Asian carp into the Great Lakes. There's just one problem, according to Thom Cmar of the Natural Resources Defense Fund: no one is actually proposing that the locks be closed. Rather, environmentalists support a solution involving "hydrological separation." More from his post:
Hydrological separation is not the same thing as closing the locks or closing the canal system. Under this alternative, barriers would be constructed strategically in the Chicago waterway system to completely eliminate any movement of water between the two ecosystems that might allow invasive organisms to move with it. If done right, hydrological separation will involve smart, well-planned investments that will establish new, more sustainable infrastructure in the Chicago waterway system.
A hat-tip to Curtis Black, who nicely summarized the post over at Newstips, writing that the choice in this debate is "between a kind of willful, blind resistance and responsible, comprehensive planning." Those wanting to learn more about the issue should check out our recent Asian carp primer.