The U.S. House of Representatives has sent another clear signal that it is committed to ending the dredging crisis on the Great Lakes.
An amendment to the Energy & Water Appropriations bill mandates that the Great Lakes Navigation System gets the 10 percent of increased funding for dredging that is promised in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 passed just seven weeks ago.
The amendment was co-authored by Congressmen Sean Duffy (R-WI) and Mike Kelly (R-PA) and introduced by Rep. Kelly. Duffy represents the Port of Superior, which includes the largest coal-shipping terminal on the Great Lakes, a major iron ore loading facility, other docks and a shipyard.
Kelly’s district includes the port of Erie, which receives hundreds of thousands of tons limestone each year and hosts a major shipyard. Ships servicing Superior and Erie have not been able to carry full loads for decades. Inadequate funding for dredging has left more than 18 million cubic yards of sediment clogging Great Lakes ports and waterways.
“This amendment leaves no doubt that Congress fully intends for the Corps to allocate 10 percent of harbor maintenance funding provided above the 2012 baseline,” said Glen G. Nekvasil, Secretary of Great Lakes Maritime Task Force. “This, plus the increase in Corps funding nationwide passed last week, keeps us moving steadily toward our goal of vessels once again carrying full loads.”
Founded in 1992, Great Lakes Maritime Task Force promotes domestic and international shipping on the Great Lakes. With 85 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.
GLMTF’s primary focus has been on ending the dredging crisis in recent years, but other goals include construction of a second Poe-sized lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, upholding the Jones Act and other U.S. maritime cabotage laws; maximizing the Lakes overseas trade via the St. Lawrence Seaway; opposing exports and/or increased diversions of Great Lakes water; and expanding short sea shipping on the Lakes.
Press Release, July 15, 2014