Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

Michigan v. United States Army Corps of Engineers

ELR Citation: 44 ELR 20157
Nos. 12-3800, (7th Cir., 07/14/2014)

The Seventh Circuit upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit brought by five states bordering the Great Lakes in which they seek to compel the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to take immediate action to prevent invasive Asian carp from crossing into Lake Michigan. The five states—Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania—assert that the Asian carp either will soon invade, or perhaps already have invaded, the Great Lakes and that they are poised to inflict billions of dollars of damage on the ecosystem. The court agreed that immeasurable environmental and economic damage would be caused not only to Lake Michigan, but to the Great Lakes as a whole, if the Asian carp establish breeding populations there. Nonetheless, the states failed to allege facts showing that the Corps and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago are operating the Chicago Area Waterway System in a manner that is likely to allow the Asian carp to reach Lake Michigan. The Corps and District are already engaged in intensive efforts to prevent the carp from reaching the Great Lakes, and there is a great deal of evidence that indicates they have succeeded thus far in doing so. Under these circumstances, the states have failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, either under a public nuisance theory or under the APA. The court, therefore, affirmed the judgment of the district court, albeit on different grounds.