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Decades-old court case key to stopping Asian carp?

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene in the Asian carp debate and force Illinois to close Chicago-area shipping locks, but Michigan officials say the most important battle is still to come.

On April 16, the Supreme Court will consider reopening a 1922 case that tried to stop Illinois from diverting water from Lake Michigan through the newly built Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal - a shipping corridor that effectively linked the Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds, the Chicago Tribune reports.

With Asian carp making its way toward the Great Lakes, Michigan and six other states in the region have asked the high court to reverse decisions that allowed Illinois to operate and maintain the shipping canal.

Some argue that the only sure way to keep Asian carp out of Lake Michigan is to permanently close locks and dams at the mouth of the Chicago River and in the Calumet-Sag Channel.

Critics of that proposal, including Illinois, state and federal wildlife officials and the shipping industry, say shutting the locks would devastate boating and shipping businesses in Chicago and will not effectively keep Asian carp and other invasive species from reaching the Great Lakes.

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