US House rejects Michigan lawmaker's request to hold up money for Chicago canal

Feb 18, 2011

Michigan congressman Dave Camp had hoped he could cut off federal funding to reopen the Chicago Sanitary Canal.  The canal could be the main path of Asian Carp may take from the Mississippi River watershed to Lake Michigan.   The Associated Press reports last night's vote wasn't close: 

By a vote of 292-137, lawmakers defeated a budget bill amendment offered by Republican Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan that would have denied funding to the Army Corps of Engineers to open the two navigational structures.

Opponents argued successfully that the locks were vital to commerce and closing them wouldn't necessarily prevent the unwanted carp from reaching Lake Michigan. "It's a great relief that we were able to defeat this amendment," said Rep. Judy Biggert, an Illinois Republican. "Its passage would have been devastating to Chicago's economy and cost thousands of jobs in our region. Worse, it would have been an empty gesture against the carp, doing more to kill jobs than slow down fish."

Michigan and four other states — Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania — are suing in federal court to close the locks and permanently sever the man-made link between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds to prevent invasive species from migrating between them.