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Feds could close Chicago-area locks

Federal officials might seek to close navigational locks on Chicago-area waterways for up to three or four days a week, a move that would restrict cargo shipping and recreational boating.

The idea is only one option for dealing with the problem of Asian carp, but shipping industry experts reacted swiftly and negatively, saying even a partial closing of the locks in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal would deal an economic blow to the region, cost jobs and force some companies to shut down or leave the area, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Advocates of closing the locks permanently didn't like the partial closing idea either. Michigan attorney general Mike Cox, who has sued Illinois in an attempt to close the locks, said shutting them a few days a week "sounds as logical as keeping criminals in jail four days a week and hoping the other three days go well."

The proposal is one piece of a $78.5 million, multipronged attack to stop Asian carp, an invasive species, from entering and establishing a large population in Lake Michigan.

The Asian Carp Control Strategy Framework, announced at a White House meeting with Midwest governors, contains more than 25 short- and long-term actions designed to protect the estimated $7 billion commercial and recreational fishing industry in the Great Lakes, the newspaper reports.

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