The Great Lakes shipping industry is calling on Congress to override President Bush’s veto of legislation that will accelerate dredging and authorize construction of a second Poe-sized Lock at Sault Ste. Marie Michigan. These provisions and others benefiting the Lakes are included in the Water Resources Development Act of 2007 vetoed by the president on Friday November 2.
|!|The nation has not passed a Water Resources Development Act in seven years|!| said John D. Baker President of Great Lakes Maritime Task Force the largest coalition ever to represent Great Lakes shipping. |!|It is high time America started reinvesting in our port and waterway infrastructure. On the lakes the dredging crisis is forcing vessels to leave cargo behind virtually every time they leave port. Our reliance on a single Poe-sized lock to connect Lake Superior to the lower four Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway jeopardizes our ability to maintain industrial production.|!|
Baker who is also President of the ILA’s Great Lakes District. Council further stressed a failure of the Poe Lock would cripple overseas exports from the Great Lakes.
The Water Resources Development Act of 2007 (H.R. 1495) was passed by wide margins in both the House and Senate.
|!|Great Lakes shipping is one of the backbones of the American economy|!| said James H.I. Weakley 3rd Vice President of Great Lakes Maritime Task Force (GLMTF).
|!|Hundreds of thousands of family-sustaining jobs depend on the 200-plus million tons of iron ore coal limestone grain and other cargos that move on the lakes each year. Congress must override the president’s veto or the efficiency of Great Lakes shipping will continue to erode.|!| Weakley who is also president of Lake Carriers’ Association noted that lack of adequate dredging is forcing the largest U.S.-flag vessels on the lakes to lose 6000 tons of cargo each trip.
A second Poe-sized Lock at Sault Ste. Marie Michigan is one of the most important infrastructure improvements on the Great Lakes in decades.
|!|Approximately 70 percent of U.S.-Flag carrying capacity is restricted to the Poe Lock|!| said Daniel L. Smith 2nd Vice President of GLMTF. |!|If that lock was incapacitated by a structural failure or terrorist attack the U.S.-flag Great Lakes fleet could not meet the needs of commerce. Trying to funnel Canadian and ocean-going vessels through the one remaining lock will produce a horrendous traffic jam|!| he said.
Smith who is also National Executive Vice President of American Maritime Officers noted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers considers the Soo Locks the single point of failure that could cripple Great Lakes shipping.
|!|Waterborne commerce on the lakes rivers and coasts is key to our nation’s economic wellbeing and national defense capabilities|!| said Patrick J. O’Hern 1st Vice President of GLMTF and Vice President -Contract Services for Bay Shipbuilding Company. |!|Congress must override this veto so America can begin rebuilding its ports and waterways|!| he said.
The Great Lakes Maritime Task Force was founded in Toledo Ohio in 1992 to promote domestic and international shipping on the Great Lakes. With 73 members it is the largest coalition to ever speak for the Great Lakes shipping community and draws its membership from both labor and management representing U.S.-flag vessel operators shipboard and longshore unions port authorities cargo shippers terminal operators shipyards and other Great Lakes interests. Its goals include restoring adequate funding for dredging of Great Lakes deep-draft ports and waterways construction of a second Poe-sized lock at Sault Ste. Marie Michigan; protecting the nation’s cabotage laws; maximizing the Lakes overseas trade; and opposing exports and increased diversions of Great Lakes water.
GLMTF members include: Ports of Indiana;
MICHIGAN: CMS Energy DetroitiWayne County Carferry Service. Inc. Lakes Pilots Association Luedtke Engineering Company MCM Marine Inc Michigan Maritime Trades Port Council O-N Minerals. Great Lakes Division Pere Marquette Shipping Company Ryba Marine Construction Co. Sargent Companies Seafarers International Union Soo Marine Supply. Inc. and Wirt Stone Docks;
MINNESOTA: Duluth Seaway Port Authority Great Lakes Fleet Inc. Key Lakes. Inc. Hallett Dock Company and Marine Tech. LLC.;
NEW YORK: American Steamship Company Port of Oswego Authority St. Lawrence Seaway Pilot’s Assn.;
OHIO: American Maritime Officers AFL – CIO Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority Corus CSX Transportation Toledo Docks Faulkner Muskovitz & Phillips Flats Oxbow Association Grand River Navigation Company Inc. Great Lakes District Council ILA AFL-CIO ILA Lake Erie Coal & Ore Dock Council ILA Local 1317 ILA Local 1768 inrl Organlzation of Masters Mates & Pilots Inri Ship Masters Association The Interlake Steamship Company Lafarge North America Lake Carriers’ Association Midwest Terminals of Toledo Inri Mittal Steel USA Osborne Concrete & Stone Co. Pickands Mather Lake Services Company Inc. Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority Toledo Port Council. MTD. AFL-CIO United Steelworkers of America. District 1 United Steelworkers of America. Local 5000 Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway Co..
PENNSYLVANIA: Carmeuse Lime Inc. Erie Shipbuilding. LLC US Steel Corp. B+B Dredging Company Norfolk Southern Corporation. WISCONSIN: Port Authority Durocher Marine Edw. C. Levy Co. Lake Michigan Bay Shipbuilding Company Brown County Port & Solid Waste Dept. Midwest Energy Resources Company The Port of Milwaukee
Western Great Lakes Pilots Association.
WASHINGTON D.C.: American Great Lakes Ports Association American Maritime Officers Service AFL-CIO American Shipbuilding Association District No.1 -PCD MEBA. AFL – CIO Inri Brotherhood of Boilermakers Kirkpatrick& Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis LLP Transportation Institute
For more information contact:
Glen G. Nekvasil Secretary
Great Lakes Maritime Task Force