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Gov. Snyder pens letter to Illinois governor asking for support on Asian Carp project


Michigan’s outgoing governor is trying to convince his counterpart in Illinois to support a project aimed at keeping asian carp out of Lake Michigan.

Asian carp are seen as a threat to the Great Lakes fishing industry. The invasive fish has moved up from the Deep South along the Mississippi River basin, reaching a point several miles from Lake Michigan.

Michigan and other Great Lakes states and provinces have agreed to support the Brandon Road lock and dam project. The project would install air bubble curtains, cameras, and flushing jets to prevent the fish from swimming into the lock and on to Lake Michigan.

But the state of Illinois is not on board, which is essential since the project would be built in Illinois.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has expressed interest in the project in the past, but concerns about how much the project would cost his state appear to be an issue.   

Governor Snyder sent a letter this week to Rauner urging him to get behind a plan.

“We cannot afford to wait any longer to take action,” Snyder said in his letter to Gov. Rauner. “The entry of Asian carp into the Great Lakes would have a devastating, permanent impact not only in Michigan, but in every Midwestern state or province that shares this shoreline. The strength, protection and sustainability of our economy, environment, industries and public health are at stake.”

Michigan is ever offering to pay $8 million toward the project.   

But a Rauner spokeswoman describes the offer on the table as " insufficient for Illinois taxpayers."

"The project’s final construction costs haven’t even been calculated yet and are still more than a year away," Rauner spokeswoman Elizabeth Tomev says, "The current estimates put it at nearly $800 million. Illinois looks forward to a fair share discussion with all the stakeholders when the true costs of this project – and what our taxpayers will be on the hook for -- are available." 

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.