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Judge tosses suit calling for permanent barriers to keep Asian carp from Great Lakes

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CHICAGO (WTAQ) - A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit by Wisconsin and four other states that called for permanent barriers near Chicago to keep the invasive Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes.

Judge John Tharp said federal law requires shipping channels to be open between Lake Michigan and the nearby Des Plaines River – and new dams are prohibited with the approval of Congress.

But the judge said he was still alarmed by the potential damage the bloated carp could create if it infiltrates the Great Lakes. He said the proper way for the states to set up the needed barriers is to get the okay from Congress.

Judge Tharp, however, left the door open to other court action. He said it’s possible that the states could find grounds for a nuisance claim without asking any other government to violate laws. In other words, the judge said, “There may be room in which the states can still maneuver.”

Michigan is the lead plaintiff in the federal lawsuit. And a spokeswoman in the Michigan Justice Department says the states’ next step will be determined once Wisconsin and the other states in the legal action are consulted. The other three states are Minnesota, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. 

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