CHICAGO, Ill. (WTAQ) - $4.7 billion. That’s how much the Chicago area’s economy could lose over 20 years, if two shipping locks are closed to try and keep the Asian carp out of Lake Michigan. An economist from DePaul University studied the impact for the Illinois Chamber of Commerce. The estimated economic losses are much bigger than what Wayne State of Detroit said in a similar study. It only predicted losses of $70 million.
Wisconsin and most of the other Great Lakes states want the shipping locks to be closed, so the Great Lakes are no longer connected to the carp-infested Mississippi River. But Illinois officials say it would devastate Chicago’s economy – and there would still be no guarantee the Asian carp would stay out. The carp is known to gobble up the food that native fish and plants rely on. Wisconsin is among those who fear that the carp would wipe the Great Lakes’ multi-billion dollar commercial fishing industry.