Another week brings another round of filings in the U.S. Supreme Court over the Asian carp dispute. As expected, the state of Illinois, the United States, and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago have all filed responses opposing Michigan’s renewed motion for preliminary injunction.
There’s not much new in these filings – Illinois, the federal government, and Chicago’s MWRD all urge the Court to sit back and allow the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee to develop its bureaucratic response. The Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee includes federal, state, and local agencies and has developed a Draft Asian Carp Control Strategy Framework. This “strategy” will not stop Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes and is not a substitute for the Supreme Court acting to protect the sovereign rights of Michigan and other Great Lakes states in protecting the fisheries of the Great Lakes. As Thom Cmar of NRDC has written, the bottom line is that the framework “does not include a clear plan that will actually work.” Andy Buchsbaum of NWF offers similar criticisms.
There have been a few other recent filings worth briefly noting. The state of Pennsylvania has filed a memorandum supporting Michigan’s renewed motion for preliminary injunction. Now all of the Great Lakes states that originally opposed the Chicago diversion in the Wisconsin v. Illinois case have filed briefs with the Court supporting Michigan’s motion to reopen the case and/or Michigan motion for preliminary injunction. This fact alone is a compelling reason for the Supreme Court to reopen the case.
The state of Indiana has also jumped in on the litigation, filing an amicus curiae brief supporting Michigan’s motion to reopen. Two quick points on Indiana’s filing – (1) Indiana was not a party to WI v. IL, so its participation in this matter is (at least for now) limited to an amicus brief; and (2) while Indiana is supporting the motion to reopen the case, it has not taken a position on how the case should be ultimately decided. Indiana is concerned about the Lake Michigan fishery but also relies heavily on the Chicago canal system for its industry. As stated in its brief, “perhaps more than any other Great Lakes state, Indiana’s ecological and economic well-being stand in tension when it comes to resolving the Asian carp issue.”
Finally, the Michigan Shoreline Caucus has filed an amicus curiae brief supporting Michigan’s motion to reopen and renewed motion for preliminary injunction. The Michigan Shoreline Caucus consists of 10 Republican members of the Michigan House of Representatives with districts that border the Great Lakes, led by Arlan Meekhof (R-89th District) and Kevin Elsenhiemer (R-105th District), the Republican House leader.
All of the filings are available on the Great Lakes Law blog’s Supreme Court Asian carp filings post.