NEWS BLOG (WSAU) We’re getting a fascinating lesson on how government works, or doesn’t work, over the last 48 hours in Washington.
The Asian Carp is already in the Mississippi River. These fish are non-native species and cause damage to the aquatic eco-system. They are tremendous eaters, and crowd out native fish like walleye. Sport and recreational fishing is at risk.
Debate has centered on Chicago’s shipping and sanitary canals. If a canal lock in Chicag is closed, the Carp might be kept out of the Great Lakes. It's not a perfect solution. The locks were not intended to be fish-barriers. Chicago wants to keep them open for shipping and economic concerns. The other Great Lakes states want the canals closed.
The White House held a ‘Carp Summit’ yesterday. There are congressional hearings today.
Governor Doyle held a teleconference with reporters yesterday. By all accounts, our Governor will not get what he wants. But he told reporters yesterday how happy he was with the outcome of the meeting. The federal government unveiled a 48-page invasive species control study, backed by some $70-million dollars worth of funding. The issue has been raised with President Obama and his top science advisors. But the locks on the Chicago canal will stay open. The city already has a court order backing its position.
This is what constitutes a success in Washington. A study. Spending money. Making an issue “higher profile” with the powers that be. But none of those things will solve the problem. As long as the locks are open, the lakes are at risk. Is there anyone who doubts that we’ll study the problem, spend the money, and the Great Lakes will still be infested?
This is an insignificant issue for the overall federal government… barely a blip on the radar screen compared to health care, jobs, the budget, the deficit. But it’s a microcosm of what’s wrong. We are far better at spending money than solving problems. I know what the outcome will be. The only question is how much we’ll spend before we fail.
Operations Manager-Midwest Communications, Wausau