To the Daily:
The Daily’s editorial on Asian carp yesterday ignored half of the argument (Imminent Invasion, 02/09/2010). I’m confounded by this, as some pertinent facts could have worked to the argument’s advantage.
As the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and other Illinois economic interest groups have pointed out time and again, closing the waterways could deal a huge blow to the Illinois economy. This “huge blow” might be better spelled out in terms of $1.5 billion a year in shipping costs and more than 400 jobs that would be affected by a closure. Then, consider how all of the industries that rely upon these shipments for business might be seriously affected.
And don’t forget Illinois farmers, who rely heavily on these waterways to distribute goods and would face higher shipping prices if an injunction was issued.
Having said this, these economic figures are dwarfed by the potential ramifications of a destroyed Great Lakes fishing industry caused by an invasive species. This is a $7-billion industry and a crucial one for the economic health of a failing state of Michigan, with the highest unemployment rate in the country. Tens of thousands of industry jobs — from fishermen to boat captains to storage and distribution company employees — will be jeopardized if the Asian carp is able to become a reproducing population in the Lakes.
The bottom line is that policy critique requires serious consideration of both sides of an issue.