Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Asian Carp Policy Geography

Hot off of my webmail account, Corey Day (Unlock Our Jobs) requests I help get the word out about the political debate surrounding the Asian carp crisis. From the website:

Each year, $16 billion worth of commodities – approximately 19 million tons of agricultural products, building materials, coal and other industrial products and raw materials – travel through the locks on the Chicago Area Waterway System. Increased costs and delays resulting from lock closure would disrupt this vital transportation corridor, impacting a myriad of industries and entities throughout the region.

During a time of widespread financial struggle, this region cannot afford the crippling costs associated with closing the Chicago locks. A study conducted by DePaul University finds economic losses for the Chicago region alone will total over $582 million in the first year of closure and reach $4.7 billion over the next 20 years.

After more than a century of operation, closing the Chicago locks will have serious consequences for the U.S. economy. The bottom line is that any lock closure, even intermittent closure, will cost jobs – stagnating economic recovery across the region.

That's one side of the story. There is also the cost of the carp spreading to the Great Lakes. But I don't intend to weigh in on the debate. Of more interest is the suggested policy geography, which you can see if you click through the above link. Conspicuously absent are Pennsylvania and New York, two states I would think have a substantial stake in this issue. US Steel is also one of the funders of the Unlock Our Jobs campaign.

Perhaps I'm building a straw man. But the geographer in me senses a story. Why aren't two Great Lakes states (not to forget Pittsburgh's Ohio River connection) involved in the lobbying effort?

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