Real Accounting Shows That 89% of Public Supports Physical Separation of Great Lakes & Mississippi River
Corps to Public: You Don’t Count
The Army Corps of Engineers recently released the results of the public comments on the Great Lakes Mississippi River Interbasin Study (GLMRIS). As authorized by Congress, GLMRIS set out to “evaluate a range of options and technologies to prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River by aquatic pathways.”
The Corps claims they received about 1,600 public comments, with 40% of those supporting physical separation as a solution, and 35% wanting navigation to continue.* The Corps has used these numbers to justify its position that there is no consensus solution.
But the Corps discounted around 7,300 individual pro-separation comments coordinated by Sierra Club Chapters in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Ohio, as well as Clean Wisconsin. If these citizen comments are counted, then approximately 89% of the comments were in support of separation and only 6% supported maintaining the status quo.
This reality of the numbers undermines the Corps’ assertion that there is no consensus and, therefore, they should not act. Over 7,000 citizens deserve to have their voices considered. The people have spoken in favor of physically separating the Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds.
* It should be noted that these positions are presented as opposites, but many separation advocates are calling for increased investment into transportation infrastructure to counter years of decline and disintegration of Chicago’s transportation network.
Original Map Released by Army Corps Indicating Support for Separation (Yellow) vs Status Quo (Green)
Updated Map, to Scale, Showing Pro-Separation Comments That Were Not Included by the Corps