Fact Sheet

Closing the Locks will Have Devastating Effects on the Agricultural Industry in Midwest
Each year, commodities worth $29 billion travel through the locks in the Chicago Area Waterway System. Lock closure disrupts this vital transportation corridor and creates increased costs and delays, impacting a myriad of industries and entities throughout the region. For example, the agriculture industry across the U.S will see the immediate, detrimental effects of these closures through higher transportation costs, limited options for transportation and reduced service schedules. During a time of widespread financial struggle, the Midwest cannot afford crippling costs associated with closing the Chicago locks.

The Numbers: 
Disruption affects billions of dollars in grain shipments throughout the region. Those effects will also ripple out to consumers and other sectors of the economy. Consider the value of grain shipped within Midwest states alone: Grain Shipped by Waterway (in millions of dollars) $69 $309 $467 $505 $539 $604

Wisconsin Ohio Mississippi Kentucky Tennessee Indiana

The Facts: 
Waterway shipping is the most cost effective method for transporting many agricultural products. Affordable, convenient access to waterway transportation has allowed the Mississippi Valley Region to thrive for over 160 years.  America¶s waterway systems are an interdependent network. Closure of any one portion of the waterway systems disrupts commerce along the entire length of the waterway, increasing costs and limiting service.


A recent study estimates closure of the locks will increase shipping costs for the Illinois agricultural community by more than a half-billion dollars a year. (February 16, 2010, ³Groups fight over plan to fight Asian carp´ by
Kim Smith, Plainfield News). 

Solutions to prevent the spread of Asian carp exist that will not negatively impact agricultural shipping on the waterways y Current control barriers are successful. There is no need for the USACE to take such an economically disastrous measure as shutting down the locks when the current barrier system is effective. Other options for preventing Asian carp from establish a reproducing population in the Great Lakes have not yet been implemented or exhausted. Other methods include: electric barriers, acoustic deterrents, strobe lights and air bubble curtains, all of which keep the Locks open.


The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service¶s Risk Assessment Panel concluded closing the locks will not reduce the risk of Asian carp reaching the Great Lakes. y A report from the U.S Army Corps of Engineers states that, ³of the six alternatives presented by the Corps, there is no individual or combination of lock operation scenarios that experts believe will lower risk of Asian carps establishing self-sustaining populations in Lake Michigan to an acceptable level.´ (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Dispersal
Barrier Efficacy Study, p. 25 http://www.lrc.usace.army.mil/pao/02June2010_InterimIII.pdf.)

The Next Steps:
In recent testimony from the hearing on Asian carp in the Senate Subcommittee on Energy and Natural Resources, experts discussed successful barriers for preventing Asian carp from establishing a self-sustaining population in the Great Lakes ecosystem. This evidence combined with the inevitable economic effects that will accompany lock closures on American industry is more than enough proof the country cannot afford closure of these locks. Americans needs their lawmakers to create a comprehensive, multi-tiered solution that keeps transportation open and commerce flowing while keeping the Great Lakes ecosystem safe.

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