This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Myth: The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) must close the locks to ensure that Asian carp do not invade the Great Lakes. Fact: To date, only a single Asian carp has been found in the Illinois Waterway System. The limited presence of Asian carp above the current barriers alone is not cause for alarm. The purpose of control measures is to prevent Asian carp from establishing a self-sustaining population in the Great Lakes. Finding a limited number of adult Asian carp upstream of the electric barrier does not mean current measures are ineffective.
Myth: Closing the locks is the only way to prevent Asian carp from establishing a self-sustaining population in the Great Lakes. Fact: Shutting down the locks is inappropriate and economically devastating, especially when other options for stopping the carp from setting up a population have not been fully implemented. Other methods for successfully preventing further migration of Asian Carp include: electric barriers, acoustic deterrents, strobe lights and air bubble curtains. There are over 30 alternatives that do not cause the economic devastation of lock closures. Each one of these alternatives needs to be fully explored and implemented before lock closure is even considered as an option.
Myth: Asian Carp reaching the Great Lakes would cost the region $7.5 billion in lost economic opportunity. Fact: The economic consequences of Asian Carp reaching the Great Lakes remain unclear, and it remains to be seen whether Asian Carp could even sustain a reproductive population in the Great Lakes given the differences in the Great Lakes and Mississippi River ecosystems and Asian Carp feeding requirements. What is clear are the costs associated with lock closure. A study conducted by DePaul University finds economic impact to the Chicago region alone is over $582 million in the first year and reaches $4.7 billion over the next 20 years if shipping locks close.
(April 7, 2010, An Analysis of the Economic Effects of Terminating Operations at the Chicago River Controlling Works and O Brien Locks on the Chicago Area Waterway System , Joseph P. Schwieterman, Ph.D., DePaul University)
Myth: Calls for lock closure are based on what s economically best for the region. Fact: Calls for lock closure are being driven by politically motivated individuals more interested in electioneering than finding a long term solution to protect the Great Lakes from Asian Carp. Instead of participating in the existing collaborative process, opponents are holding press conferences and filing lawsuits that distract from the real issue developing a long term solution that protects jobs and the environment. Myth: Because a single Asian Carp has reached the Great Lakes, more will come and will eradicate native species and take over the lakes forever. Fact: There is no evidence that Asian carp will successfully establish in Lake Michigan as they are unable to reproduce without long stretches of moving water found in rivers. Additionally, the southern portions of Lake Michigan contain limited levels of plankton, the carp s primary food source. This aquatic desert is likely to further constrain any carp that reach the lake. (August 31, 2008, Evaluating Asian Carp
Colonization Potential and Impact in the Great Lakes , Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant)
Myth: Closing the locks will not affect the shipping industry. Fact: The Chicago and O Brien locks move 7,289,428 tons of commodities annually. Closing the locks would conservatively result in added shipping costs of approximately $89 million, a cost that will likely be passed on to consumers. Others have suggested that closure of the locks would increase shipping costs for the Illinois agricultural community alone by more than a half-billion dollars a year.
(April 7, 2010, An Analysis of the Economic Effects of Terminating Operations at the Chicago River Controlling Works and O Brien Locks on the Chicago Area Waterway System and February 16, 2010, Groups fight over plan to fight Asian carp by Kim Smith, Plainfield News). Closing the locks causes irreparable and devastating effects to Chicago s vital commercial shipping industry.)
Myth: Closing the locks will not adversely impact the broader Midwest or Mississippi corridor. Fact: The O Brien Lock alone handles 7.3 million tons of barged commodities such as coal, petroleum, cement, iron and road salt. Barge transportation is the most cost efficient and environmentally friendly mode of transportation available. On an average week this spring, the locks transported 180,000 tons of materials. That s the equivalent of more than 6,000 semi-truck loads of material rerouted, delayed, or often times unable to be delivered a convoy that would stretch from Chicago all the way to Milwaukee. At the very least, such delays would have a significant impact on key industrial building blocks and impact energy, construction, transportation, agricultural and manufacturing costs and overall competitiveness across the region. In the worst case scenario for the most severely impacted industries, the flow of commerce would cease under the burden of increased costs.
Myth: Closing the locks poses no threat to the environment or to homeland security. Fact: Intermediate closure of the locks means that barges full of chemicals and other hazardous materials could be sitting on the Illinois or Calumet Rivers, backed up indefinitely while waiting to proceed through the locks, presenting serious potential national security and environmental risks. Currently, staging areas for barges in the vicinity of Chicago are scarce. Actions that contribute to a back-up of tug and barges and reduce the handling of cargo in secured processing facilities will pose additional security and environmental threats to the region. Shifting barge traffic to the roadways would also adversely impact regional air quality as thousands of trucks would be required, where feasible, to carry the commodities currently carried more efficiently by barge.
Myth: Closing the locks would have minimal impacts on Chicago. Fact: The water treatment and drinking water systems for the City of Chicago, and the system of flood control for the City of Chicago would be forced to undergo a major overhaul under an altered canal system. The cost of replacement of this system can be expected to be measured not in millions of dollars, but in billions of dollars. Additionally, the city would lose millions of dollars in revenues from recreation and tourism related vessel activities.