View topic - Asian carp in the Great Lakes?

It is currently December 11th, 2019, 5:56 pm

All times are UTC - 5 hours





Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 45 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next
Author Message
PostPosted: January 6th, 2010, 2:17 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: May 23rd, 2006, 2:01 pm
Posts: 733
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Here is what needs to be done;

Declare an Asian Carp fishery and then give management of said fishery to DFO. The Carp will be gone in a generation*.

* see Cod, Atlantic

_________________
"When the green, dark forest was too silent to be real" - Gordon Lightfoot


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: January 6th, 2010, 2:33 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: December 29th, 2002, 7:00 pm
Posts: 6146
Location: Bancroft, Ontario Canada
Quote:
If the number of captured fish is large, dealing with the carcasses could be a significant burden. It's not easy to get rid of large amounts of rotting fish.


In some places on the Great Lakes, dead common carp may have been classed as toxic waste, because of bioaccumulation from toxic sediments.

_________________
><((((º>


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: January 6th, 2010, 3:45 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: July 22nd, 2006, 10:42 am
Posts: 339
Location: Southern Ont.
frozentripper wrote:
Quote:
If the number of captured fish is large, dealing with the carcasses could be a significant burden. It's not easy to get rid of large amounts of rotting fish.


In some places on the Great Lakes, dead common carp may have been classed as toxic waste, because of bioaccumulation from toxic sediments.



I agree with this. I went to to the U. of Windsor back in the early '90's and they had been talking about bioaccumulation at the Great Lakes Institute there for some time.

I found some sweet little spots for plump Crappies down along the Detroit R., and once I saw a guy with 3 or 4 little 1-2lb'rs on a stringer.

The 1st thing I thought was "there goes another candidate for a palliative care unit ..."

God knows what's in the carp, suckers, and even sturgeon, down there.(yes, there are still rumoured to be some sturgeon in that river!) They're likely recognizeable by their glow.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: January 7th, 2010, 11:33 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: December 29th, 2002, 7:00 pm
Posts: 6146
Location: Bancroft, Ontario Canada
Did somebody say these carp can jump? Imagine paddling through this...


Image

The lawsuits have begun - this story actually made it to the New York Times.



Quote:
Fight Against Asian Carp Threatens Fragile Great Lakes Unity

By MONICA DAVEY
Published: January 2, 2010

CHICAGO — Asian carp, the voracious, nonnative fish whose arrival near Lake Michigan is threatening to cause havoc in the Great Lakes, are now setting off strife on land as well.



The New York Times

In an urgent effort to close down Chicago-area passages that could allow the unwanted fish to reach Lake Michigan, the State of Michigan is suing the State of Illinois and other entities that govern the waterways here. Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin have filed documents in recent days supporting Michigan’s move, and Indiana says it will soon do the same.

The new rift between these Midwestern states, which would reopen a nearly century-old legal case in the United States Supreme Court over Great Lakes waters, comes at a particularly sensitive moment — just as the numerous entities with interests in the Great Lakes had united in what lakes advocates consider some of their most significant progress in decades.

In 2008, the eight states that touch the Great Lakes helped push through a federal-state compact that bars diversion of water from the lakes unless all of the states (and the Canadian provinces involved) agree. That Great Lakes Compact, which was years in the making, at last calmed fears that other water-starved regions might tap into the lakes, which make up 20 percent of the world’s freshwater.

And this fall, the federal government approved what many saw as the first step in a major restoration for the lakes, long sought in these states.

Some $475 million was designated to clean up pollution, protect habitat and fight invasive species in the Great Lakes.

“Years ago, we realized that this region of the country needed to do a much better job of speaking with one voice or we would not be heard in Washington,” said David A. Ullrich, executive director of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, one of several alliances that formed in recent years around the notion that those with Great Lakes interests needed to work together if they hoped to draw the support and attention captured, say, by the Florida Everglades.

Of the Asian carp threat and the legal sparring suddenly brewing between the states, Mr. Ullrich, whose group of 70 lakes mayors includes Richard M. Daley of Chicago, a Democrat, said, “It’s a very serious issue, and I think we are going to need to figure out a way to come together as a region.”

For years, leaders in the region worried about Asian bighead and silver carp — large, imported fish that can take over an ecosystem by consuming the food supply of other fish and that were known to be making their way north up the Mississippi River. But the efforts took on a new urgency in November, when the authorities reported finding genetic evidence of the carp within about six miles of Lake Michigan, in the Chicago-area waterway system that links the Mississippi to the Great Lakes.

As lake advocates called on leaders to close locks in the waterway system in an emergency effort to block the fish, representatives from the office of Mike Cox, the attorney general of Michigan, said he had reached out to leaders on the other side of the lake, in Illinois, but got no response.

Mr. Cox, a Republican who is running for governor of Michigan this year, said hundreds of thousands of jobs in his state depended on Lake Michigan, and in December he filed a lawsuit. “This is an environmental and economic emergency,” Nick De Leeuw, a spokesman for Mr. Cox, said of the potential damage the carp could inflict throughout the lakes. “It’s almost like a bad science fiction movie.”

In his legal filings, Mr. Cox called for an injunction to close locks immediately, but he is also seeking, ultimately, to separate the Mississippi River system from the Great Lakes entirely.

More than a century ago, a canal was built linking the two waterways. Barges travel between the two, and over the years, the design helped carry sewage away from Chicago and Lake Michigan as part of an engineering feat that reversed the flow of the Chicago River.

The Michigan lawsuit would reopen a Supreme Court case from the 1920s (which was later modified repeatedly) in which neighboring states complained that Illinois’s diversion of water away from the lake was wrong.

The suit leaves Illinois leaders in an awkward spot: though many of them have expressed horror at the thought of Asian carp taking over Lake Michigan, a closing of locks could also cause damage for a barge industry here. And permanent separation of the two waterways might also require changes to the Chicago area’s wastewater infrastructure.

A spokeswoman for Gov. Patrick J. Quinn of Illinois, a Democrat who is up for election this year, said he believed that “everything should be looked at in a careful and studied way.”

And Suzanne Malec-McKenna, the commissioner of Mr. Daley’s Department of Environment, said, “While we recognize that Asian carp pose a significant threat to the Great Lakes, shutting down the waterway system in Northeastern Illinois before fully understanding the impact it would have on the movement of people, goods and storm water is a shortsighted answer to a complex problem.”

Left uncertain is what so much turmoil over the carp might do to the broader efforts at cooperation on the lakes, or whether it might damage relations just as the region tries to figure out how best to spend the hundreds of millions of dollars in restoration money.

Notwithstanding this lawsuit, said David Naftzger, executive director of the Council of Great Lakes Governors (including Mr. Quinn and the governors whose states have signed on with Michigan to close the locks), there have been long efforts to work together in the region to fight invasive species, even these carp.

“That will continue,” Mr. Naftzger said, pointing out that it is attorneys general, not governors, who would be handling any legal back-and-forth. “This doesn’t mean other elements of the state governments won’t persevere to find common ground.”

All that being said, Mr. Naftzger added, if some solution to the carp problem cannot be found, all sorts of progress could eventually be at risk.


http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/03/scien ... tates.html

_________________
><((((º>


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: January 7th, 2010, 3:01 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: June 11th, 2005, 11:19 am
Posts: 1870
Location: Boise, ID
It's a big story in the States. The port of Chicago is an international port (2nd largest in Great Lakes), and the shipping canal for deep draft boats make possible a primary waterway between St. Lawrence Seaway, Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico. $556 million in bulk commodities pass through per year, and support up to 5,000 local jobs. The area has already been hit very hard by collapse of steel industry in 60s-80s.

http://www.lrc.usace.army.mil/co-o/calumet.pdf

I suppose they could transport goods across the locks (but the boats would have to stay on both sides). Not sure what is being discussed, but they will have to find a solution and nothing looks very good. And in a way, Chicago is being signaled out for blame for an issue it did not create (the USDA approved the use of asian carp in catfish farms for algae control in southern States) … and now the problem arrives on our doorstep. States wishing to take Chicago to court should also help bear the cost for fixing the problem (and mitigating local economic impact of different proposals). Obama has committed $475 million for restoration and remediation for a variety of international Great Lakes concerns, and it should be worth noting that Canada has NOT agreed to match the contribution.

Rather than point a finger, people need to get on board and find a solution!!


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: January 8th, 2010, 9:03 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: December 29th, 2002, 7:00 pm
Posts: 6146
Location: Bancroft, Ontario Canada
Idylwyld,

Quote:
Obama has committed $475 million for restoration and remediation for a variety of international Great Lakes concerns, and it should be worth noting that Canada has NOT agreed to match the contribution.


Money has been thrown around on both sides of the border since 1978, when the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement committed both sides to protection and restoration... that's over thirty years' worth of spending since Nixon and Trudeau signed the agreement.

There are 43 degraded hotspots (AOCs - Areas of Concern) on the Great Lakes... after all the spending since 1978, only three AOCs have been restored to something that resembles a "healthy" state, two on the Canadian side and one American. The progress on the ground has been so underwhelming that the International Joint Commission, which oversees the well-being of the Great Lakes, issued a statement commenting on the poor rate of restoration. Scientific reports have also been published on the shortcomings.

There has been a review of the Great Lakes agreement and it wouldn't surprise me if the current feeling is that it won't do any good to throw good money after bad, given the history. If new spending won't produce adequate results, it makes more sense to direct it towards something with greater benefits instead for now (acquisition and protection of remnant natural areas, for example), until something more relevant can be worked out. Without a science-based intiative to focus the effort where it's most needed, restoration isn't likely to provide good results.

This Scientific American article provides some clues and time will tell whether any new money will be used effectively.

Quote:
February 12, 2009

(Not So) Great Lakes Cleanup

Daunting cleanups of various toxic hot spots around the Great Lakes are bogging down.

...


http://www.scientificamerican.com/artic ... kes-cleanu




Ontario Nature article, summer, 2009.

Quote:
Dead calm

Beneath their shimmering surfaces, environmental injuries take a toll on the health of our Great Lakes

by Peter Christie

On a windless early morning, Lake Ontario reflects the sun in a jewelled sheen. Gulls wheel overhead.

Ripples lap limestone. The seemingly perfect calm masks a problem.

Lake Ontario and the other Great Lakes do not look sick, but they are. Areas of the world’s largest body of fresh water have reached what scientists recently called a “tipping point” – the place where new environmental insults risk throwing the natural balance permanently out of whack.

Lake watchers are awaiting the re-energized return of a proven hero – the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. Until problems become more visible, however, governments have shown little will to overhaul and invigorate the Canada-U.S. accord that was once a model of international environmental cooperation.

Almost two years have passed since the Canada-U.S. Binational Executive Committee submitted an 18-month review of the agreement to federal officials on both sides of the border. The review – incorporating opinions from more than 350 experts and others – says that updating the 37-year-old accord and renewing the commitment to make it work are essential.
So far, the response to the review has been near silence.

Things were different in the beginning. Through the 1960s, the lower lakes became so ill that they were often literally green. Choking blooms of lime-coloured algae girdled beaches. Oxygen-starved fish rotted on shores. In 1969, the Lake Erie mouth of the Cuyahoga River – sludge-thick with pollution – burst spectacularly into flames.

When the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement was created in 1972, everyone recognized its importance. The bilateral blueprint detailed an unprecedented research and cleanup partnership. Researchers (my late father, fisheries scientist Jack Christie, was among them) recognized that the ecological health of wildlife, from fish to bugs to birds, was tied to the chemical balance of the water. The agreement included this “ecosystem approach” – putting the big picture first.

Phosphorus from detergents – acting on algae like fertilizer – was identified as a major problem in the lakes. Efforts under the agreement led to new sewage treatment plants and a ban on high-phosphate soaps. The situation began to improve. Lake whitefish and cormorants battled back. Beaches became mostly free of dead fish and peasoup-green water. Bald eagles returned to nest in shoreline pines.

“There is no question the agreement has had a lot of successes,” reflects John Jackson of the environmental coalition Great Lakes United. “But the job is far from done.”

Many agree that the accord has been losing steam – and relevance – since the 1980s. It was amended in 1978, 1983 and 1987 but not since then.

Old problems (pesticide runoff, PCBs, mercury) persist. Eating a lot of lake fish is still hazardous. And, after more than 20 years, only three of 43 toxic hot spots – areas targeted by the agreement for cleanup – have been delisted. In Ohio, where the Ottawa River meets Lake Erie, warnings remain against even wading in the water.

Meanwhile, threats have multiplied. New toxins – flame retardants and drug compounds – have been added to the soup. Severe climate-change-related storms overwhelm city sewage controls. Nutrient overloading is back, and so are algal blooms.

About a third of the 180 invasive creatures and plants in the lakes appeared after the agreement was in place; the problems they bring are complex.

Invading mussels, for example, cycle botulism up the food chain. As a result, water-birds have died by the thousands, and the risks to people are dire.

The importance of the lakes has not diminished. Forty million people live in the region, and some say that the economy of the Great Lakes basin is the world’s second largest. One-fifth of the earth’s fresh water is here, and the significance of its natural history is immeasurable.

In March, environmentalists applauded a unilateral U.S. announcement of $475 million in funding for Great Lakes restoration. That same month, Ontario called for public input on its own vision document for the lakes. But binational cooperation is badly needed to address the crisis in the Great Lakes. The shimmering, impassive surface of the lakes hides deeper trouble, and only a renewed, revitalized Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement can get to the bottom of it.


http://onnaturemagazine.com/dead-calm.html

_________________
><((((º>


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: January 8th, 2010, 11:42 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: June 11th, 2005, 11:19 am
Posts: 1870
Location: Boise, ID
Image

Thanks for those links. If I've learned anything by participating in discussions such as these, it is that nothing is cheap. If something looks affordable, it's because future generations are paying the cost of environmental degradation, health impacts, and harm to ecosystem (and all of it's sustainable, recreational, commercial economic and social benefits). And the cost of doing nothing is so much greater.

35 million people live in direct relationship to the Great Lakes, and many are exposed to regular health dangers from pollution (pesticide runoff, raw sewage, PCBs, erosion of contaminated sediments, dioxin, lead, mercury, more). According to some, it could take up to $26 billion for clean-up, and the projected long-term economic benefits are quadruple that ($80-100 billion).

Quote:
Politicians should be looking to the Great Lakes for more than just environmental reasons (although those should be enough to warrant action). A study from the Brookings Institution found for every dollar invested in a Great Lakes restoration plan, $2 would be returned in direct benefits to the U.S. Indirect benefits could total up to $50 billion. So if the U.S. wanted to do the right thing and spend the $26 billion it would cost to clean up the Great Lakes, the long-term benefit could reach $100 billion.

Throwing good money after bad … I'm not so sure. We seem to be once again in the same old situation, searching for political will and act in ways consistent with easy to understand, well documented, and unchallenged long-term cost benefit assessments (and incorporate metrics beyond mere short term thinking and measures). The costs of doing nothing appears to be so much greater (it's what got us here in the first place).


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: January 8th, 2010, 3:34 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: December 2nd, 2002, 7:00 pm
Posts: 3731
Location: Grand Haven, Michigan U.S.A.
First off, let me first apologize for further dragging this topic off Asian Carp.

Ed, if there is one thing I’ve learned in 19 years of remediating environmental sites, is that cleaning up toxic sites rarely results in a “clean site.” When I came into the field we attempted to clean up sites to the limit of laboratory detection. But now 20 years later we know that virtually none of these sites actually are totally devoid of the impact in either the water or soil. I’ve “found” additional impact on numerous “clean” former environmental sites. Since the mid 1990s, toxicology and risk based evaluations modified the concentrations that sites were remediated to, in an effort to move more sites to the point that no additional action is required. This was a boon in that blighted inner-city sites could be managed to minimize risk and be used for a higher purpose. But it really brings up the question of “What is Clean”, and are the additional environmental risks of performing remediation in addition to the huge costs worth it.

While the best available technologies (BAT) are used, rarely do these technologies result in the elimination of risks from the environment. The reality is that environmental cleanups rarely result in the mass destruction of the toxic compound(s). First off, even with an unlimited budget, you can’t entirely remove the toxics from the natural environment to the point that none exist. They have been transported via natural mechanisms to other places often tens to hundreds of miles away, or to depths that are essentially not accessible do to their huge aerial extents. In addition, we often don’t fully understand the path of migration and find impact years later that we didn’t know even existed. Essentially, it’s impossible to remove it all. So once toxics are released there will always be the possibility to impact human health and the environment from that location. Clean is only a reality in a administrative sense.

Usually, the toxic compound(s) are removed from areas perceived to be of higher value and moved to places of lower value. The process of removal, transportation, and “disposal” mobilizes some of the toxics into the water, sediments and atmosphere. Disposal usually means landfills, haz waste repositories, or the atmosphere. So after spending the incredibly high costs to remove the solid and liquid waste it usually is placed back in the earth surrounded by engineering controls to minimize its further impact to the environment, or it’s transferred into the atmosphere either via volatilization or incineration.

So upon completion of a remedial project, we will still have a residual environmental impact at the original site, we’ve additionally impacted water, soil sediments and the atmosphere by removing it from its original location, and transporting. We’ve “disposed” of the waste in a second location which will have maintenance efforts and ultimately can not preclude a second release of the waste doesn’t occur, or it’s released in a different form to the environment. Unfortunately, as good as our engineering is, even with the incredible costs to deal with every detail well beyond the current laws, the a portion of the environmental problems remain, and often we’ve further created more environmental issues that later generations will need to deal with.

So I ask you… If environmental remediation doesn’t result in eliminating the environmental risk (rather it’s moving the risk from one place to another that we likely will have to deal with further down the line in the future), is that really any different than doing nothing? I guess the rest of my career will probably be based on the fact that some of this work will continue to be done... but I'm not delusional enough to think that future generations won't have to deal with these same wastes again at some time in the future.

PK


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: January 8th, 2010, 6:38 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: June 11th, 2005, 11:19 am
Posts: 1870
Location: Boise, ID
PK … are there studies out there that suggest disturbing contaminated sites actually increases the contamination to the surrounding area, rather than allowing it to dissipate by natural processes over a longer period of time? I'm guessing it is not a zero sum game as you suggest, but your comments on negative impacts of remediation are well taken.

You mentioned modification to risk based assessments in the 1990s … and the resulting boom to redevelopment of blighted brownfields in inner city sites. Indeed, you don't have to go far to see the impact of this in many areas of the Great Lakes region: boosted property values in areas that have been "cleaned up," return of commercial investment, civic life, minimizing costs to fire and police services, bringing businesses and even green development alternatives back to area. This would suggest that "clean-up" does have an economic cost-benefit advantage, which may not be best quantified in return of "pristine" environmental conditions.

"Perfection is the enemy of the good" (Voltaire).

I agree with you, we aren't going to return the Great Lakes to pristine conditions, but why hold yourself to such an impossible standard. The issue is to prevent pollution from accumulating in such high concentrations in a single area that nobody wants to build their homes there, swim in the water, invest in property values, fish for recreation, sail, or otherwise make productive use of the area. Can we balance industrial and public use of lands … definitely. And this is what a clean-up or a remediation plan for the Great Lakes should attempt to do.

Money invested in Sea Lamprey weirs, while not perfect, did protect salmon populations in the lake, and a $7 billion/year fishery. But can you eat the fish … not really. One could argue that pollution is actually protecting the fishery by prevention of over-fishing and commercial harvest. So there are many different ways to look at it. We pollute much less, population has doubled or tripled since the catastrophic 70s (before Clean Air and Water Acts), we clean up storm water and sewage, pollution at its source, and much more. And yet, efforts to gut environmental protections and scale back remediation efforts persist (and false claims of it being too costly). Should Asian Carp reach the Great Lakes, the environmental cost of doing nothing would be immense. You get what you pay for, and we're all in it together.

You should look at the work of Growing Power in Milwaukee (here and here)... it's all about restoring soil and remediating sites (and promoting civic pride, accomplishment, and community building), and have you also seen the pie in the sky green development plan for Detroit by private entrepreneur John Hantz in Fortune Magazine. It's out there (as are many plans for Detroit), but he thinks he can MAKE IT PAY. There's a lot of new and creative ideas out there, time to dust off the American Dream and small business ethic, stop watching so much TV or listening to politicians (well, not all of them), and get busy making a difference in your community.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: January 8th, 2010, 11:18 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: December 2nd, 2002, 7:00 pm
Posts: 3731
Location: Grand Haven, Michigan U.S.A.
Ed, I never said that investing in the environment wasn't good for the economy. The Brownfield progam has been excellent for all the reasons you mentioned, and impacted environmental properties have been returned to profitable use. But we were talking about the AOCs. These sites aren't the result of recent contamination. These are legacy sites.... the Kalamazoo River is a Superfund site due to PCBs in the paper sludge released to the river fo 70 years in the 20th century. Musekgon Lake is impacted by several Superfund sites on the shores of the lake. These plants are gone, but the impact remains. White Lake is the result of waste from a long gone tannery along with several huge legacy chemical plants. Saginaw Bay is the result of dioxins from Dow in Midland. This stuff happened decades ago, and the costs to clean these sites up is staggering. These are the huge environmental costs that we can't force a liable party to clean up. Here in Michigan alone, surrounded by four of the 5 lakes, we have over 9000 site of environmental impact from leaking underground storage tanks that we either don't have a liable party for, or the owner doesn't have sufficient funds to perform the clean up. These costs which amount to $250,000 to $1M per site are way beyond what the State can afford. Who's gonna pay to clean up these sites? We're talking BILLIONS, and likely 10 years of dedicated work at each of these sites to remediate them. Now lets open the chlorinated sites which science has had much less success at cleaning up. The costs go up exponentially over the fuel related sites due to the tendency for these compounds to sink in aquifers and their persistance in the natural environment.

I don't think you understand the HUGE environmental costs that states have on their books with no liable party to force to do the remediation. I'm working on sites now in a regulatory capacity that I worked on as a consultant back 19 years ago. Companies have spent millions on these sites, but the concentrations in groundwater and soil haven't changed.

Those AOC's won't be removed until we can insure that the legacy contamination isn't being released into surface bodies like Muskegon Lake, or Saginaw Bay. But the multiple Superfund sites feeding these AOCs will each multiples of millions of dollars and decades of throwing technology at the sites before we see these AOCs downgraded.

PK

PK


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: January 9th, 2010, 2:52 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: June 11th, 2005, 11:19 am
Posts: 1870
Location: Boise, ID
Well … there used to be a program where current polluters paid into a fund to help pay for superfund clean-up ("polluter pay" fees), but the program was discontinued by Bush admin. The effect was to shift the cost of clean-up to the taxpayer. I really don't understand what is conservative about such a thing, why is it legit to charge the taxpayer twice for pollution: first to produce the goods (and not charge the companies), and then to charge for clean-up.

The superfund program was started by Reagan in response to Love Canal, Times Beach, Valley of the Drums, and other sites … but there was never an attempt to adequately fund it (and every effort at reform has failed). And you mention the problem of liability (and the wording of the statute). And it is simply a wording issue. The Supreme Court upheld existing legislative priorites in 2009 in a 8-1 ruling in favor of industry stating companies had to be "intentional" in causing harm to environment and human health to be liable for clean-up of superfund sites. Ginsburg (often a moderate swing vote) wrote the lone dissent, and stated Shell was "well aware" that storage practices were inadequate and would result in leaks over a period of 20 years. So what is the meaning of the word "intentional."

All of the issues you mention are totally relevant … but not outside the range of legislative solutions. Frankly, saying something costs too much is not a persuasive argument to me. These are all interesting issues and an education for me, and I haven't spent much time looking into superfund issues. It sounds like an interesting little window into politics, corporate power, state/federal issues, economics, technical science, ecology, and probably much more. The government does expensive things all the time, they have just made the strategic political calculation that it is not in their immediate self-interest to place the taxpayer on the hook for the full cost of clean-up, and nobody wants to stand up to industry (at a cost to jobs, development, and all the rest) and have them pay for their fair share of the cost of doing business. It's enough to turn even an idealist like me into a cynic.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: January 9th, 2010, 7:54 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: December 2nd, 2002, 7:00 pm
Posts: 3731
Location: Grand Haven, Michigan U.S.A.
Ed, here in Michigan we still have polluter pays in a general sense. But we run into problems holding the liable parties nose to the fire due to most properties being held as Limited Liability Corporations. Often what happens is that a company holds an impacted property. They are causitively liable... then a new LLC is created, and ownership of the property is transferred to a new entity, and the original company is dissolved. But the State Environmental Agency (in our case the MDEQ soon to be renamed the MDRE) isn't notified until a new Baseline Environmental Assessment is submitted by the new entity. By this time the old entity is gone, and the new entity has liability protection from the BEA. The Stateagency gets no support from the AG to tie the new entity to the old despite being largely the same group of shareholders. These sort of issues are frustrating to legislate.

Now that GM has gone bankrupt think of the environmental concerns that the New GM will no longer be burdened with that will fall on the States to assume environmental responsibility for, Great, eh?

PK


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: January 19th, 2010, 2:00 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: January 16th, 2010, 8:46 am
Posts: 299
Location: Ontario
This is what I wrote on my blog regarding the lawsuit by Michigan....updated today with info on Ontario joining in lawsuit:

The Great Lakes….Lawsuits….And About The Need For Positive Action

Came across this on MSN website, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34599634/ns ... ngton_post, that is a report from The Washington Post about Michigan suing Illinois over concerns of the welfare of the Great Lakes….specifically the problem with European carp….we’ve brought up this issue before in discussing the film Waterlife….but I find it interesting that one Great Lakes state is suing another over this potential disaster….and all because Illinois “reversed” the Chicago River so sewage could be dumped into the Mississippi instead of Lake Michigan (considered an “engineering feat” 100 years ago)….

Here’s more from the article: “the suit, which is going to the Supreme Court, also challenges Chicago’s controversial withdrawal of up to 2 billion gallons of water a day from Lake Michigan….environmental groups have long called for the ecological separation of the Great Lakes from the Mississippi River basin to curb the spread of invasive species and to retain Great Lakes water in the Great Lakes basin….it is estimated the Chicago diversion has lowered lakes Michigan and Huron by three inches…the Chicago River was reversed by connecting it through a system of canals to rivers whose waters flow into the Mississippi….varying degrees of ecological separation could be achieved by closing the canals: using sluice gates to allow lake water to flow but blocking fish or boats; or using measures such as bubble or sound “curtains,” chemicals or electricity to limit the movement of fish and smaller organisms….since 2002, the Army Corps of Engineers has run an electric barrier in the canal to block Asian carp…. tests by the University of Notre Dame and the Nature Conservancy in the fall found Asian carp DNA beyond the barrier near Lake Michigan, indicating that it might have failed to keep the voracious fish at bay…..if Asian carp make it into the Great Lakes, environmentalists and policymakers say, they could wipe out plankton that makes up the base of the food chain, severely impacting fishing and lake-based tourism…..Michigan’s suit, filed Dec. 21, reopens a 1922 lawsuit filed by Great Lakes states challenging Chicago’s right to divert water….that suit resulted in a consent decree limiting the amount of water Chicago sends to the Mississippi….Michigan’s suit also calls for a preliminary injunction to force the temporary closure of locks, used for flood control and navigation….the Corps of Engineers and other federal, state and local authorities would probably be involved in closing the canals or other ecological separation measures, which could also be mandated through legislation….if the canals were closed, barges could not travel from the Mississippi River into the Great Lakes. Freight would probably have to be transferred to trucks or rail cars and carried over land to Great Lakes ports….that would be a costly undertaking…..the national industry group for barge operators, which opposes closing the locks, says about a quarter-million truck trailers’ worth of goods make the passage annually on barges….national environmental groups say the potential economic impact of Asian carp and other invasive species in the Great Lakes make freight reconfiguration worth the cost….a 2008 study by the Alliance for the Great Lakes found that ecological separation could be economically beneficial and improve efficiency of freight transport…..the Natural Resource Defense Council has proposed that an environmentally sustainable intermodal freight facility be built to replace barge traffic into the lake, creating “green jobs” and curbing the invasive species risk….an ecological separation would probably mean Chicago would have to revamp its wastewater infrastructure“….

(I’ve included these direct quotes from online article as they seem to tell the story best….and state the facts….besides the Washington Post has a better writer than I am. LOL LOL)

Apparently the concern over invasive species is not just over European carp….it was also about zebra mussels and round gobies also being transported through these canals….although the Great Lakes are already inundated with both….an electric barrier was originally planned to deal with the gobies….but that didn’t happen fast enough to prevent their spread….and now the Corp of Engineers is planning spending $6 million on a “stronger” electric barrier….talk about closing the barn door too late….after the horses had already got out….and what puzzles me is what is Ontario doing about this????….I mean we have seven US states bordering the Great Lakes AND only one Canadian province….maybe Ontario should add her voice….isn’t there an international agreement on the well-being and protection of the Great Lakes????….such as something called the International Joint Commission On The Protection Of The Waters Of The Great Lakes (now that’s a mouthful LOL LOL)….just one of several international policy groups….or appropriate respective national and provincial/state legislation.

Bill Mason directed our attention to these and other issues regarding the Great Lakes in his film, The Rise And Fall Of the Great Lakes, so many years ago (1960s in fact)….and then in Kevin McMahon’s Waterlife we’re reminded of these again….don’t we need to do something more than just be reminded of this????….even more helpful than filing lawsuits????? (I mean this lawsuit of Michigan’s was the RE-OPENING of a 1922 one?!?!?)…..taking direct action now and not in years from now….remember the Native belief of Seven Generations…..how all we do now should be for the Seventh Generation yet to come….for 7 generations from now….that generation needs our help as does the Great Lakes. Get involved….make that one of your New Year’s Resolutions!!!!! Write letters (Bill Mason knew the importance of that!!!!!)….join any of the environmental groups interested in cleaning up, protecting, and saving the Great Lakes….talk to your politicians (especially during elections)….whatever you can do, please do it….it all counts.

Postscript (January 19, 2010): Found this online today….Ontario has joined with Michigan in the lawsuit according to this January 1/10 online article Ontario takes Asian carp fight to U.S. Supreme Court, http://news.sympatico.ctv.ca/abc/home/c ... arp_100101. So at least Ontario is now involved.


Check out Kevin McMahon's Waterlife...great film....see this post also from my blog, http://reflectionsoutdoors.wordpress.co ... o-be-seen/

Finally I came across this online from the Chicagoland Canoe Base, http://www.chicagolandcanoebase.com/nyd.html, about a New Year’s Day Canoe Trip planned for January 1, 2010 on the North Branch of the Chicago River....could this be part of the same Chicago River that was “reversed” as described in an earlier post here on the lawsuit brought by Michigan against

_________________
[i]And the paddle, in the water, is a long, lost friend.
There are times I’d like to wander down a river without end,
In a hull of flowing cedar, carved by knowing hands....[/i]
From [i]Shield[/i] by Dave Hadfield

http://reflectionsoutdoors.wordpress.c


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: January 19th, 2010, 4:39 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: June 11th, 2005, 11:19 am
Posts: 1870
Location: Boise, ID
Image

The North Branch is still a relatively scenic river for canoeing … and a favorite of Ralph Frese at Chicagoland Canoe Base. It was straightened and moved in places, and dams were placed at the headwaters creating Skokie Lagoons, and some fairly scenic ponds for the Chicago Botanical Gardens. It was only the lower sections that were reversed and diverted into the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (CSSC) which feeds into the Des Plaines River (also a good canoeing river) and eventually the Mississippi River.

There is a pumping station up in Wilmette that feeds into the river (draws water out of the lake and increases flow in N. Branch so that lake water gets diverted into Shipping Canal and not back up the N. Branch). So there are three areas of concern for carp (and where DNA have been found … they can actually measure this by finding DNA and not individual fish) … at the Wilmette pumping station, downtown locks of main branch, and Calumet River shipping areas.

NYT has a follow-up story on the lawsuit:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/13/scien ... uit&st=cse

It actually sounds like it has more to do with historical grievances about drawing down lake levels (which are now a century old), rather than specific issues about fish. They are simply using fish as a way to re-activate old and outstanding business.

It may be worth noting that Chicago is one of four cities in the U.S. that doesn't treat it's effluent for bacteria (via chlorination or UV irradiation), and up to 70% of the Chicago River is sewage effluent. It shares this distinction with Kansas City, Memphis, and St. Louis in the U.S. So, I for one … am glad this water doesn't make it into the Lake. But maybe this is what it will take to make Chicago do the right thing, clean up it's sewage (not sure why it's acceptable to send it down stream to Mississippi and not Lake), and take tougher measures to protect the Great Lakes from invasives.

Open Lands has an extensive water trails map for Chicago Region and NW Indiana. They have done a lot of work restoring and adding access points throughout area, providing map resources, adding signage, and things like that. It's what has made this region somewhat tolerable from a paddler's perspective, and it only seems to be getting better (with shops returning to area, more people out paddling, more public events, and the like).

http://www.openlands.org/index.php/Nort ... egory.html


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: January 19th, 2010, 5:42 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: June 11th, 2005, 11:19 am
Posts: 1870
Location: Boise, ID
UPDATE:

Well … not good news at all. Just heard a local news report. Asian Carp DNA has been found in Calumet Harbor (which is part of Lake Michigan).

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 03159.html

Biologists are being sent out next week to test Lake to see if anything further can be detected. Headline from Washington Post: "Asian carp DNA found in Lake Michigan." As a consequence of poisoning, only one fish has been found "on the wrong side" of the electric barrier at Romeoville.

Also today ... Supreme Court denied preliminary injunction from Michigan to close the locks (court case moves forward).


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 45 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next

All times are UTC - 5 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group