It is heart-warmimg to see the Chicago Tribune waltz around the earnest panic peddlers of the Sierra Club, a Michigan Republican Snake Oil Salesman, Andrew "What's My Line" Cuomo and the easily spooked tabloid junkies in knit caps and Birkenstocks.
The Lads of Leo High School ( Environmental Science Sections 4& 5) and their Substitute Science Victim ( Your Humble Servant) are considering the history of the Water Reclamation District and this latest "WE NEED TO ACT NOW!" Dodge by the collectivist folks who gave us - Cap'N Trade, The Bank Bail-outs, GM (Government Motors) and the current Vote on Government Health Care.
I need to ACT FAST! Class is starting
This is all moving fast -- the Supreme Court could issue an emergency order as soon as Friday.
Without this fix, Michigan Attorney General Michael Cox claims, these fish will complete their "unrelenting march" to inflict "environmental and economic disaster." The fears aren't unreasonable, but they don't call for panic. Closing locks that serve as major shipping channels would cause serious economic damage throughout the region and should be considered only a last resort. Fortunately, there is time to weigh other options to find a less disruptive way to keep the carp out of Lake Michigan.
Last month, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources dumped poison in the canal to prevent unwanted migration into the lake when an electric fish barrier was turned off for maintenance. Lots of fish turned up dead, but only one Asian carp. That suggests that the barrier has been largely effective and that the number of carp in nearby rivers is minimal, making an immediate mass invasion unlikely.
There is always the possibility that the Asian carp could make their way past the barrier into Lake Michigan, of course. Fortunately, that would not necessarily be the fatal blow often portrayed. A few of the fish have been caught in Lake Erie in recent years, but so far there are no signs they have gained a permanent foothold.
That could indicate the Great Lakes are not a suitable habitat, if only because the plankton the carp need is already being gobbled up by other invaders, such as zebra mussels. The carp might be too late to the party.
It wouldn't be smart to place complete reliance on that reassuring prospect. Given the harm the carp could possibly do to Lake Michigan and the other Great Lakes, more steps are needed to prevent an invasion. Illinois officials know that.
But Michigan and the other states are in full panic attack. Let's hope the Supreme Court doesn't buy into the hysteria.