Position Papers

Construction of a Second Poe-Sized Lock at Sault St. Marie, Michigan

GOAL: In June 2018, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released its New Soo Lock Economic Validation Study which determined a second Poe-sized lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, has a benefit/cost ratio (BCR) of 2.42.  President Trump has pledged to “fix” the Soo Locks and James C. Denton, the Corps’ Director of Civil Works, has stressed that,  “The strategic importance of the Soo Locks cannot be overstated.”  With the … Continue reading →

Construction of a Second U.S. Coast Guard Heavy Icebreaker (GLIB) Stationed on the Great Lakes

GOAL: Seek legislation in the 115th Congress authorizing construction of a second Great Lakes heavy icebreaker (GLIB).

BACKGROUND: The winters of 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 were the most severe experienced on the Lakes since the early 1990s. During the winter of 2013/2014, 92.5 percent of the Lakes were ice-covered. The winter of 2014/2015 wasn’t much better; ice coverage peaked at 88.8 percent.

The near arctic conditions all but paralyzed the Great Lakes navigation … Continue reading →

The Jones Act and Other U.S. Maritime Cabotage Laws

GOAL: Strict adherence to all existing maritime cabotage laws, as they play a crucial role in America’s national, homeland and economic security.

BACKGROUND: Section 27 of the Merchant Marine Act, 1920, mandates that all cargo moving between U.S. ports be carried in vessels that are crewed by Americans, built by Americans, and owned by Americans. Section 27 is generally referred to as the Jones Act. Other laws and statutes apply the … Continue reading →

Federal Regulation of Ballast Water

GOAL: Support The Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA), S. 168. VIDA establishes a uniform, Federal standard for treatment of ballast water and recognizes that vessels such as lakers that confine their operations to a “geographically limited area” need not treat their ballast, as they do not move from ecosystem to ecosystem.

BACKGROUND: In 2006 the St. Lawrence Seaway began requiring oceangoing vessels to exchange their ballast water before entering the system. … Continue reading →

Adequate Funding for Dredging Great Lakes Deep-Draft Ports and Waterways

GOAL: Ensure that the Lakes receive their fair share of the increased funding for dredging mandated by the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) of 2014.

BACKGROUND: Decades of inadequate funding for dredging the Great Lakes have left more than 15 million cubic yards of sediment clogging ports and waterways throughout the system.  As a result, even in periods of high water, the largest vessels still cannot carry full loads.  Worse, … Continue reading →

Promotion of New Short Sea Shipping Trades on the Great Lakes and Seaway

GOAL: Enact a narrow exemption from the Harbor Maintenance Tax for non-bulk cargos moved on the Great Lakes.

BACKGROUND: In recent years, transportation planners have been struggling to identify ways to move people and goods more efficiently while reducing the effects on the environment. Congested highways–particularly in urban areas–hinder the flow of commerce and hamper North America’s economic growth. Likewise, rail capacity is limited in many areas. Expansion of highway and … Continue reading →

Great Lakes Shipbuilding and Government Programs to Promote the Industry

GOAL: Support programs to increase commercial shipbuilding and repair at Great Lakes yards.

BACKGROUND: Shipyards with large-scale capability are in Sturgeon Bay, Marinette and Superior, Wisconsin; Toledo, Ohio; and Erie, Pennsylvania.  Small drydocks and/or ship repair facilities are located in Cleveland, Toledo, Milwaukee, Detroit, RogersCity (Michigan), and Sault Ste. Marie (Michigan).

Great Lakes shipyards are fully capable of building all types of commercial and military vessels.  The only real limitation on vessel … Continue reading →

Long-Term Funding for Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute

GOAL: Seek long-term Federal funding for the Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute (GLMRI) co-chaired by the University of Wisconsin-Superior and the University of Minnesota Duluth.  GLMRI is a designated National Maritime Enhancement Institute (NMEI) and under public law 1121-2 is eligible for on-going annual funding.  However, GLMRI currently operates on a cooperative agreement with the Maritime Administration that funds projects on a one-year-at-a-time basis, but to be truly functional for … Continue reading →