TRAVERSE CITY, MICH. - Five states are proceeding with a lawsuit against the federal government demanding steps to prevent Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes, despite recent congressional action, the Michigan attorney general's office said Thursday.
Legislation approved last month requires the Army Corps of Engineers to complete a plan for shielding the lakes from the invasive carp within 18 months, or toward the end of 2013.
A quicker timetable was one of the requests in a suit filed three years ago by Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
But the states will continue pressing their case because the legislation doesn't guarantee that the corps will sever a man-made link between Lake Michigan and carp-infested waters near Chicago, said Joy Yearout, spokeswoman for Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette. The lawsuit seeks a court order for such a step. "The bill passed by Congress puts a limit on the Army Corps' endless studies but doesn't address future actions," Yearout said. "We're hopeful the lawsuit could result in permanent separation."
The corps contends that an electric barrier is blocking carp from the lake. But Asian carp DNA has turned up repeatedly in water samples taken beyond the barrier.
The case recently was transferred from U.S. District Judge Robert Dow to another judge, John Tharp, Yearout said. It has not been scheduled for trial. A government motion to dismiss the suit is pending.