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Action Alert: Keep Seaway Expansion out of the Climate Change Bill!

August 5th, 2009 | Posted by admin

Save The River has learned that an amendment has been added to the House version of the Climate Change bill that paves the way for Seaway expansion: an ill-conceived, economically unjustified, environmental disaster for the St. Lawrence River. The amendment was added by Mid-Western lawmakers looking to create a federal power authority in the Great Lakes region. Unfortunately, proponents also see the power authority as a source of funding for Seaway expansion.

Seaway expansion refers to the enormous infrastructure project of enlarging the locks and channels of the St. Lawrence Seaway to make way for larger vessels to access the Great Lakes.  This massive re-tooling proposal would destroy miles of fragile habitat, re-suspend polluted sediments and exacerbate the problem of invasive species coming into the Great Lakes in ship ballast tanks.

Only a few years ago, Seaway expansion was soundly rejected by the citizens of the Great Lakes basin, after it was proposed in a Corps of Engineers study called the Great Lakes Navigation System Review. A that time, citizens and lawmakers alike strenuously objected to any proposal that would adversely effect the St. Lawrence River’s ecology and vibrant tourist industry dependent on a healthy River. Also, in 2003, the Pennsylvania Transportation Institute did a study which cast serious doubt on the ability of an expanded system to draw the traffic necessary to make it economically justifiable.

In light of everything we know today about climate change and the increasing importance of our freshwater resource, physical expansion is not a sustainable direction for the navigation system. The industry must commit to a future that does not include physical expansion, and begin operating within the constraints of the Lakes and Rivers, instead of reshaping the Lakes and Rivers to fit the navigation industry.

Read more in coverage from the Watertown Daily Times.

Take Action!

Write to your Senators today to urge them to protect the River and Lakes by opposing any language in the Climate bill that could be used to pave the way for Seaway expansion.

Points to include in your letter to your Senators:

  • I urge you to oppose the creation of a Federal Power Authority in the Great Lakes region, which could lead to expansion of the St. Lawrence Seaway.
  • This authority was proposed in an amendment on the American Clean Energy and Security Act (HR 2454) and should not become law because it could provide a funding source to expand the locks and channels of the St. Lawrence Seaway and Great Lakes.
  • Seaway expansion is the wrong direction for the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes, this priceless freshwater resource should be restored not degraded!
  • In July of 2003, the Pennsylvania Transportation Institute did a study which cast serious doubt on the ability of an expanded system to draw the traffic necessary to make it economically justifiable.
  • Seaway expansion has been shown to be environmentally disastrous for the freshwater of the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes – which hold almost 90% of the fresh surface water in North America
  • Seaway expansion would destroy miles of fragile habitat, re-suspend polluted sediments and exacerbate the problem of invasive species coming into the Great Lakes in ship ballast tanks.

Send your comments to the addresses below:

The Honorable Kirsten Gillibrand –
United States Senate
478 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Or, contact Senator Gillibrand directly via her website.

The Honorable Charles E. Schumer
United States Senate
313 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-3201
Or, contact Senator Schumer directly via his website.

Don’t Vote in New York? We need your help too!

If you vote in a state other than New York, send a letter to your home Senators as well, using the following address:

The Honorable _______________________
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Not sure who your Senators are? Visit the U.S. Senate website and click on the ‘Find Your Senators’ box in the upper right hand corner.

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