Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said on June 1 that he believes a separation of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds might be the “ultimate solution” to the problem of migrating Asian carp.
Quinn spoke to media at a meeting of the Council of Great Lakes Governors on the resort of Mackinac Island on Lake Huron. His comments drew applause from the audience of government officials. Most elected officials of Great Lakes states favor separation, but Illinois has opposed the idea in court.
Quinn acknowledged the huge cost of any project to reverse the connection of the two waterway systems, praised as the height of progress in the early 20th century. “I hope you’re clapping when Congress comes to invest the money,” said Quinn. “It has to be a national project.”
A 2012 proposal to place dam-like structures on Chicago waterways was estimated to cost between $3.21 billion and $9.5 billion by the Great Lakes Commission.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, whose state opposes separation, told reporters such a move would “cost thousands of Hoosier jobs and cause additional harm to many Hoosiers to manufacture and grow our products.”