September 9, 2011Margaret Stalker
recently placed third in the 2011 Environmental Law Essay Contest sponsored by the Environmental Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan. Her paper was titled "The Asian Carp Invasion: The Supreme Court's Failure to Protect the Great Lakes." According to Stalker, in December of 2009 the State of Michigan, supported by numerous other Great Lakes States, filed a lawsuit in the United States Supreme Court (Wisconsin v. Illinois
, 130 S. Ct. 2397 (2010)) to force a closure of portions of the the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS), a manmade waterway that connects the Mississippi River Basin to the Great Lakes Basin. However, the Supreme Court, without stating the reason for its decision, declined to hear the case. Stalker's paper examined the arguments that Michigan made and the defendants' responses to those arguments. It concluded that because the Asian carp poses a grave threat to the Great Lakes ecosystem and the arguments Michigan put forth in support of the Supreme Court setting the dispute concerning the future of the CAWS were compelling and legally sound, the Supreme Court should have taken the case. By declining to do so, the Court has given the Asian carp more time to find its way into the Great Lakes.