In two separate filings Tuesday, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said Wisconsin and other Great Lakes states don't have the legal authority to demand the closing of canal locks within Illinois, and the Obama administration asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reject the request.
Madigan filed her response with the U.S. Supreme Court to a request by Wisconsin and other states for an injunction to close the locks to protect the lakes from the invasive Asian carp.
Madigan contends the request has nothing to do with the diversion of Lake Michigan water, and thereby is invalid under the multistate consent decree it cites.
Madigan also noted that Illinois does not operate either the canal locks or the sluice gates Michigan wants closed. She pointed out a recent deliberate kill of all fish in a six-mile area of the Cal-Sag Channel yielded only a single Asian carp.
Separately, Solicitor General Elena Kagan asked the court to reject the states' request, saying closing the locks would endanger public safety and disrupt the flow of cargo.
She said federal agencies are working with the states to keep Asian carp out of the lakes.
The voracious fish have been migrating up the Mississippi and Illinois rivers toward the Great Lakes for decades. They have infested waterways near Chicago that lead to Lake Michigan.
Scientists say if the carp get into the lakes, they could disrupt the food chain and endanger the $7 billion fishery.
The federal government has pledged $13 million to hep step up the fight against the fish.