Dredging of Sandusky Harbor

Ohio EPA
Division of Surface Water
Permits Processing Unit
P.O. Box 1049
Columbus, OH 43216-1049

Dear Mr. Wright:

Dredging of Sandusky Harbor

Great Lakes Maritime Task Force is the largest coalition ever to represent the Great Lakes maritime industry. Our members come from every Great Lakes State (and others as well) and represent both labor and management from virtually every segment of the industry. 30 of our members are headquartered in Ohio.

We are writing to state our full support for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' plan to dredge 350,000 cubic yards of sediment from Sandusky Harbor this year. Sandusky is a major coal-loading port. In 2008, the port shipped 3.2 million tons of coal, or 8 percent of all coal moving on the Lakes last year.

It is extremely important the U.S.- and Canadian-Flag lakers that load coal in Sandusky be able to utilize their carrying capacity as much as possible. A recent report issued by the Corps determined that Great Lakes shipping saves its customers $3.6 billion a year in transportation costs when compared to trains and trucks. With our economy struggling, the efficiencies of waterborne commerce are more important than ever.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' study also found that waterborne commerce is the most environmentally-friend mode of transportation. Vessels produce 90 percent less carbon dioxide than trucks and 70 percent less than trains. It's good business and good environmental policy to use Great Lakes shipping.

Again, we urge Ohio EPA to issue the necessary permit so Sandusky Harbor can be dredged in 2009. In fact, all of Ohio's Great Lakes ports are in need of dredging and we urge issuance of those permits as they come before Ohio EPA.

Sincerely,

Donald Cree, President
James H.I. Weakley, 1st Vice President-Positions & Resolutions
John D. Baker, 2nd Vice President-Membership
Patrick J. O'Hern, 3rd Vice President-Government Relations