Idaho debate on invasive mussels: too expensive to keep out, or too expensive to let in?

Invasive mussels the size of fingernails that clog pipes, spoil beaches and crowd out native aquatic life are lurking at Idaho's border, and if they spread to the state's waterways they could cost $91 million annually, experts warn.

Idaho Department of Agriculture Director Celia Gould told budget writers earlier this month the multimillion-dollar cost of keeping quagga and zebra mussels out of the state was too high in the current state of the economy. But Republican Rep. Eric Anderson of Priest Lake told the Legislature's Environmental Common Sense Task Force Thursday that the price of invasion is too high for the state to do nothing.

The mussels were inadvertently introduced into the Great Lakes in the mid-1980s, and they have spread throughout the East and Midwest. In 2007 they were found in Lake Mead on the Nevada-Arizona border and have since spread into California, Colorado and Utah.

Read the full story at