Congressman Fights for Southwest Michigan Harbors (USA)
Congressman Fred Upton issued the following statement yesterday after House Speaker John Boehner named him one of 33 House Members to negotiate with the Senate on the federal highway bill. Last week, Upton joined his House colleagues in passing a bipartisan extension of federal surface transportation programs (H.R. 4348) that would last through September.
The House extension, which recently passed by a bipartisan margin of greater than two-to-one, would provide for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, giving the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) 30 days to approve the project. H.R. 4348 would also ensure vital harbor maintenance by requiring all revenues collected through the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) be fully used for their intended purpose. From emergency dredging to maintaining standard operations, keeping southwest Michigan harbors open for business has been a top priority for Upton.
“Folks in Michigan deserve a national energy policy that helps create jobs and lower the price at the pump through projects such as the Keystone XL pipeline. Through a renewed commitment to North American energy production, we can take our economic recovery from the county road to the interstate,” said Upton. “Maintaining our commercial and recreational harbors is also essential to local growth, infrastructure development, and countless jobs here in southwest Michigan. The Great Lakes are not only our most treasured natural resource; they are our strongest economic asset. The livelihood of thousands of Michigan families and businesses depend upon our harbors and deserve the certainty of knowing that these gateways of opportunity will remain operational and open for business.”
A champion of an “all of the above” energy policy, Upton has been a leading supporter of the 1,700-mile pipeline extension, which would transport energy resources from Canada to refineries in the United States. Construction of the Keystone project is estimated to create tens of thousands of U.S. jobs and reduce America’s dependence on overseas suppliers by carrying nearly 1 million barrels of North American oil to U.S. markets per day. The project has been repeatedly approved by the House with strong bipartisan support, both as a stand-alone provision and as part of broader legislation.
Maintaining southwest Michigan harbors has been a top priority for Upton. Upton is also a strong supporter of the bipartisan Realize America’s Maritime Promise (RAMP) Act (H.R. 104), which would ensure that all federal revenues currently being collected for harbor maintenance are fully used. This past winter, Upton worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to secure emergency funding to dredge the St. Joseph harbor, which had been closed to commercial traffic due to severe shoaling.
Dredging Today Staff, April 26, 2012; Image: upton