Michigan v. USACE

Date: July 14th, 2014

Topic: Natural Resources

Type: Lawsuit v. Other Public Entity, Lawsuit vs. Federal Government

Jurisdiction: Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin

Several states and one Indian tribe intervenor brought a public nuisance claim against the United States Army Corps of Engineers and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago for allegedly failing to take adequate measures to prevent the spread of Asian carp from the Mississippi River into Lake Michigan. Asian carp is a dangerous invasive species that would threaten the native species of the Great Lakes if allowed to enter into Lake Michigan and thereby gain access to all of the Great Lakes. The plaintiffs moved for a preliminary injunction ecologically separating the Mississippi River from Great Lakes water system, but the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois denied the motion on the grounds that a statute compelled the operation of the connecting waterway. While the case was pending, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers published a report with eight possible solutions to the problem, several of which did not require such a complete separation.

On defendants’ motion the District Court dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim and the 7th Circuit affirmed the dismissal. Both courts noted that the defendants, as well as other actors were already taking steps to try to avoid the spread of the fish into the Great Lakes.

Citation: Michigan v. United States Army Corps of Engineers, 758 F.3d 892 (2014)

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