Following a federal court ruling earlier this month, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown joined business and environmental leaders in Cleveland on Thursday to call for a long-term solution for maintaining navigation of the Cuyahoga River’s shipping channel while continuing to protect the Great Lakes.
“Lake Erie and this river are in the midst of a remarkable recovery, and we must ensure that it continues,” Brown said. “That’s why it’s so important – for both Ohio businesses and the health of the lake – that the Army Corps finalizes plans to fully dredge the Cleveland Harbor and Cuyahoga River, and to do it in a way that protects the river and the lake.”
Standing on the banks of the river at ArcelorMittal Cleveland – which relies on the river to receive the iron ore it needs to produce and ship steel – Brown joined Eric Hauge, ArcelorMittal Cleveland’s general manager; Chris Ronayne, chair of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority Board; and Jane Goodman, executive director of Cuyahoga River Restoration. The group urged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to finalize a sediment management plan that is good for northeast Ohio businesses and the health of Lake Erie.
“The Cuyahoga River is the lifeline to ArcelorMittal Cleveland, which receives approximately four million tons of raw materials each year via the shipping channel. Shipments can only be received – and therefore, steel can only be produced – if the full channel is dredged twice a year,” Hauge said. “We are very pleased the 2015 spring dredging has begun and work will be completed soon, but we also need to establish a permanent solution for next year and beyond.”
Earlier this month, a federal court judge ordered the USACE to fully dredge the Cleveland Harbor and Cuyahoga River.
According to the State of Ohio, more than $10 billion of the state’s nearly $40 billion tourism industry is derived from counties along the Lake Erie shoreline. Further, the Great Lakes play a vital role in transporting food, materials, and other components necessary to support Ohio jobs. But in order for this to continue, the Great Lakes’ harbors and channels must be dredged; their breakwaters maintained; and their locks must operate effectively.