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Minnesota joins fight against Asian carp

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson asked the U.S. Supreme Court Monday to order Illinois to shut down a canal system that could allow Asian carp to enter the Great Lakes.

Swanson's action thrusts Minnesota into the legal battle initiated last week by Michigan asking the U.S. Supreme Court to immediately order federal, state and local officials responsible for Chicago-area locks and waterways to take action to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes.

Ohio officials also have joined the effort. Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is considering the situation. Under the U.S. Constitution, lawsuits between states are heard in the U.S. Supreme Court, which is expected to hear the case at a Jan. 8 conference.

Swanson's brief asks for closure of certain Chicago-area locks connecting certain Illinois waterways directly to Lake Michigan. The brief also asks that pumping gates be operated in a manner to prevent carp from entering Lake Michigan. The states also are asking for new barriers to stop the carp.

Opponents say that closing the Chicago locks would cost hundreds of jobs.

Lake Superior area fish biologists say the carp probably wouldn't thrive in the cold, deep waters of Lake Superior but likely would cause problems in the warmer, fertile waters of the Twin Ports harbor and St. Louis River.