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States Seek Review By The U.S. Supreme Court In Asian Carp Case

Torrence_Allison_COLORBy Allison A. Torrence


As previously discussed in this blog, the states of Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, seeking a preliminary injunction aimed at stopping the spread of Asian carp from the Chicago Area Waterway System ("CAWS") into the Great Lakes. The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently affirmed a lower court's denial of a preliminary injunction in the case of Michigan v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. On October 26, 2011, the states filed a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review and reverse the decision of the Seventh Circuit.

The states claim that the Seventh Circuit's legal analysis was flawed and should be reversed. Notably, the states have significantly limited the relief they are seeking. Previously, the states sought a number of measures, including closure of the locks connecting the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. In the current petition, the states are only asking that the Supreme Court remand the case for a district-court order that compels the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to install block nets at several points in the river and accelerate the study examining the feasibility of permanently separating the Great Lakes from the CAWS. The states claim that these measures are reasonable and would impose minimal costs on the defendants, particularly in comparison to the other remedies, such as lock closure, which the states are not pursuing at this time.