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Seriously?! NO Great Lakes Restoration funding, ZERO!

March 16th, 2017 | Posted by Lee

Seriously?! NO Great Lakes Restoration funding, ZERO!

Page 42 of President’s budget plan released today “Eliminates funding for…Great Lakes Restoration Initiative”. This program has received bipartisan support in every budget since its inception in 2010. Over $130,000,000 has come to New York State to improve wetlands, fish habitat, invasive species detection and prevention, pollution abatement and other important projects that have created direct and indirect jobs, improving our environment and our economy. Over $6.4 million has been spent directly in the St. Lawrence River watershed.

Zero it out? Seriously. Decidedly. Outrageous!

It is just one part of the budget’s assault on programs that protect the water we depend on for our world-class fisheries, to sustain our recreation and tourism based economy, AND to drink!

Among many other programs cut or zeroed out is a Department of Agriculture program that assists communities with fewer than 10,000 people with water and sewer infrastructure.

It’s hard to imagine describing the St. Lawrence River as “great” if the water is no longer swimmable, fishable, or drinkable.

The President’s budget plan is chock full of disappointments for anyone who has benefitted from the last half century of progress the United States has made in air and water quality and human health.

Common sense tells us we have more to do to make sure every American has access to clean air and water, both basic human rights.

Instead for Save The River / Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper and our members and supporters, this budget is nothing less than a full on assault on the health of one of North America’s most important waterways and the people and communities that depend on it being and staying healthy.

Call the Congressional switchboard, (202) 224-3121, to connect with your Senators & Representative with the simple message “I support clean water programs – GLRI, revolving loan funds, & EPA”. Then call White House with same message (202) 456-1414 or (202) 456-1111.

Please also consider becoming a member of Save The River to strengthen our ability to fight for a healthy St. Lawrence River, now and for generations to come. Add your voice to thousands of others working to preserve, protect and restore one of the great rivers in North America.

#WePersist

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Save The River Questions Oil on the River at Great Lakes Forum 2016

October 11th, 2016 | Posted by Lee

Crude oil has no place on the River or its tributaries. While at the Great Lakes Public Forum, Riverkeeper and Save The River’s Executive Director had a chance to remind the panelists of the 1976 Nepco 140 spill of 300,000 gallons of crude oil on the St. Lawrence River – at the time the largest inland oil spill in North America and to ask about measures to deal with spills from pipelines, and rail, as well as ships.

Save The River has been fighting to protect the vulnerable and fragile natural and human environment on the St. Lawrence River for its entire history.

Although refined petroleum products are currently transported on the River, crude oil is not. Two very different and very dangerous types of crude are poised to transit the St. Lawrence River. One, Bakken crude, is extremely volatile, even explosive as seen in numerous “bomb train” incidents in recent years. The other, tar sands oil, is heavy enough to sink in freshwater where, with current technology it is unrecoverable.

Shipping on the St. Lawrence River has long been an all-risk and no-reward proposition, and the shipment of crude oil will exponentially increase the risk to our environment, our economy and our communities.

Having suffered a major oil spill on the St. Lawrence River, we know all too well the risks involved with even traditional cargoes. As pressure increases to bring these dangerous cargoes to the waters of the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes, either in the holds of ships, through pipelines or in rail cars, we must take steps to protect our River before it’s too late.

More on Save The River’s position and advocacy to protect the St. Lawrence River from spills.

The whole Great Lakes Public Forum was live streamed by Detroit Public Television’s Great Lakes Now coverage. Click here for their coverage.

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Winter Icebreaking on the St. Lawrence River?

August 18th, 2016 | Posted by Lee

2013 Ice on the River at Clayton“We [Save The River and the River community] remain vigilant to any renewed efforts for destructive ice-breaking for winter shipping and we stand ready to block it again.”

In a August 17 story by Brian Kelly the Watertown Daily Times covers the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers Maritime Transportation Strategy that, among other things, “suggests ways the shipping season could be extended.”

Ice-breaking on the St. Lawrence River has not and will not be appropriate – either economically or environmentally.

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Congresswoman Stefanik works to remove Bad Ballast Bill tucked Into Defense Authorization Act

May 31st, 2016 | Posted by Lee

Save The River / Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper and conservation groups around the country are working to ensure the Environmental Protection Agency retains its authority to clean up ballast water discharges.

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As reported by the Watertown Daily Times in a May 27, 2016 story by Brian Molongoski, “Non-defense-related legislation tucked away in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, which was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last week, would remove the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s authority in regulating ballast water discharge from cargo vessels.” The story was also covered by ABC and other media.


Exempt from the Clean Water Act?

Exempt from the Clean Water Act?

Two weeks ago we asked you to contact your Congressperson to stop this from happening. Many of you responded and Congresswoman Stefanik heard you. And although she did what she could, the “must pass” Defense Authorization Act was approved the House of Representatives with language rolling back Clean Water Act protections from the threat of invasive species in ships’ ballast water that our River, and the Great Lakes now have.

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Your calls made a difference. Ms. Stefanik has vowed to continue to work to remove the “Vessel Incidental Discharge Act” language from the defense bill.

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Let her know you appreciate her efforts and that you support her work to protect the St. Lawrence River. Call her office at (202) 225-4611 or send an email by going to: https://stefanik.house.gov/contact/email

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This type of advocacy takes resources. If you would like to contribute to our efforts by becoming a member please click here. And keep coming back for updates.

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:  (202) 225-4611
or send an email by going to:  https://stefanik.house.gov/contact/email
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Remembering the River: Iroquois Lock 1957

November 23rd, 2015 | Posted by Lee
Remembering the River:
At 2 pm, November 23, 1957, 58 years ago today, the Canadian Coast Guard ship Grenville became the first ship to pass through the new Iroquois Lock.
This was a test run of the lock, a key facility in the soon to be completed St. Lawrence Seaway system. It is a pivotal event in ushering in the devastating regulation of the once natural levels and flows on the St. Lawrence River.
The damage is well documented – the loss of 64,000 acres of meadow marsh wetlands and the vital ecosystem services they provide, the precipitous decline of Northern Pike and common tern, and the disappearance of muskrat from the River.
A solution exists. Plan 2014 – a modern water levels plan, recommended to the U.S. and Canadian federal governments 18 months ago – will go a long way to restoring the balance, Unfortunately, despite widespread public support from local governments in Canada and the U.S., many federal agencies, over 23,000 signatures on petitions and letters and nearly 100 elected officials, environmental, business and community leaders, Plan 2014 is still unapproved.
The St. Lawrence River needs Plan 2014 now. It’s time to reverse the damage ushered in with the Seaway. Let these key officials know you want Plan 2014 implemented now for the health of the St. Lawrence River:
Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion, via email: stephane.dion@parl.gc.ca
Secretary of State John Kerry, via twitter: @JohnKerry
Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo, via email (select “Environmental Concerns” under Topic): http://www.governor.ny.gov/contact and via twitter: @GovCuomo

Remembering the River:

At 2 pm, November 23, 1957, 58 years ago today, the Canadian Coast Guard ship Grenville became the first ship to pass through the new Iroquois Lock.Grenville Iroquois Lock Post

This was a test run of the lock, a key facility in the soon to be completed St. Lawrence Seaway system. It is a pivotal event ushering in almost 60 years of devastating regulation of the once natural levels and flows on the St. Lawrence River.

The damage is well documented – the loss of 64,000 acres of meadow marsh wetlands and the vital ecosystem services they provide, the precipitous decline of Northern Pike and common tern, and the disappearance of muskrat from the River.

A solution exists. Plan 2014 – a modern water levels plan, recommended to the U.S. and Canadian federal governments 18 months ago – will go a long way to restoring the balance, Unfortunately, despite widespread public support from local governments in Canada and the U.S., many federal agencies, over 23,000 signatures on petitions and letters and nearly 100 elected officials, environmental, business and community leaders, Plan 2014 is still unapproved.

The St. Lawrence River needs Plan 2014 now. It’s time to reverse the damage ushered in with the Seaway. Let these key officials know you want Plan 2014 implemented now for the health of the St. Lawrence River:

Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion, via email to: stephane.dion@parl.gc.ca

Secretary of State John Kerry, via twitter

Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo, via email (select “Environmental Concerns” under Topic)

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, via email

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Remembering the River means working to protect it for future generations

November 21st, 2015 | Posted by Lee

Jodrey Pic

41 years ago today the Roy A. Jodrey went down off Alexandria Bay after hitting Pullman Shoal. Over the years she has been the source of contamination from slowly leaking oil left in the port side day tank.

In 2002 a major effort was undertaken to remove the remaining oil. The amount removed was far less than what was expected to be on board. Concern over any oil being left to leak comes from fact that one-quart of oil will foul 150,000 – 250,000 gallons of freshwater. However, since the clean up effort no leaking fuel has been observed.

Ironically on the 30th anniversary of the sinking of the Jodrey – eleven years ago – the Seaway corporations and shippers decided to re-brand the St. Lawrence River “Highway H2O”. Doing so created a clever marketing tool, but it also reduced one of North America’s most significant waterways to just another piece of infrastructure.

Recent efforts by the Seaway corporations to market the River as a highway for crude oil – both tar sands and Bakken (“bomb train”) crude – require all of us concerned about the health of the River to focus on andOil Collage fight the threat these cargoes pose to it.

Shipping on the St. Lawrence River has long been an all-risk and no-reward proposition, and the shipment of crude oil will exponentially increase the risk to our environment, our economy and our communities. Having suffered a major oil spill on the St. Lawrence River, we know all too well the risks involved with even traditional cargoes.

As pressure increases to bring these dangerous cargoes to the waters of the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes, we must take steps to protect our River before it’s too late.

Save The River has been fighting to protect the vulnerable natural and human environment on the St. Lawrence River for its entire 37 year history. Join us and support our work on the River by becoming a member today.

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Tell Congress “Don’t weaken environmental review of Army Corps projects!”

September 18th, 2013 | Posted by Lee
Congressional committee is poised to approve bill undermining environmental reviews of Army Corps of Engineers water resources projects.
Last week the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee released their version of the Water Resources Reform Development Act (WRRDA)**. Recently the Senate passed its own version. Both bills contain similar “streamlining” language that would substantially undermine effective environmental review of proposed Army Corps of Engineers water projects under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other environmental laws, including the Endangered Species Act.
These provisions will make it much harder to fight bad Army Corps projects like Seaway Expansion and winter navigation, should they be re-introduced.
The House T&I Committee plans to take up WRRDA tomorrow, September 19th.
Everyone concerned about adequate, appropriate and critical review of Army Corps actions on the St. Lawrence River should contact their representative about the harmful provisions in the bill and about new reforms that should be added to the bill.
We urge you to tell your representative that the harmful environmental “streamlining” provisions must be stripped from the bill to ensure continued protection of the St. Lawrence River and our nation’s other inland waterways.
Please reach out to your Congress person and express your concerns with the House bill.  If your House member is not on the T&I Committee ask them to reach out to the T&I Committee with your concerns.
Here are the basic points to make:
Strike the environmental streamlining provisions in the bill – Sections 101 and 103.
Strike the provision that eliminates the requirement for “reconnaissance studies” – the provision we used successfully to stop expansion of the Seaway – Section 104.
Amend the “Inland Waterways Stakeholder Roundtable” language to require the inclusion of conservation organizations (such as Save The River) – Section 215.
Strike provisions that encourage massive amounts of additional dredging at full taxpayer expense.
Amend the bill to require the Corps to use cost-effective, low impact solutions wherever possible.
Amend the bill to require mitigation consistent with recommendations made by the nation’s fish and wildlife experts pursuant to the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act.
To find your Congress person click here.
Of course, Bill Owens should also hear from all of us since he represents the St. Lawrence River region.
To read the most recent letter from a broad coalition of national and regional conservation groups, including Save The River, opposing environmental “streamlining” click here.
For additional background click here to a read the National Wildlife Federation’s section-by-section analysis of the House bill.
Members of New York’s Congressional delegation on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee are:
Timothy Bishop
Richard Hanna
Sean Patrick Maloney
Jerrold Nadler
Feel free to contact us with any questions or feedback you may receive.

Congressional committee is poised to approve bill undermining environmental reviews of Army Corps of Engineers water resources projects.

Last week the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee released their version of the Water Resources Reform Development Act (WRRDA)**. Recently the Senate passed its own version. Both bills contain similar “streamlining” language that would substantially undermine effective environmental review of proposed Army Corps of Engineers water projects under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other environmental laws, including the Endangered Species Act.
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These provisions will make it much harder to fight bad Army Corps projects like Seaway Expansion and winter navigation, should they be re-introduced.


The House T&I Committee plans to take up WRRDA tomorrow, September 19th.

Everyone concerned about adequate, appropriate and critical review of Army Corps actions on the St. Lawrence River should contact theirSeaway Construction representative about the harmful provisions in the bill and about new reforms that should be added to the bill.

We urge you to tell your representative that the harmful environmental “streamlining” provisions must be stripped from the bill to ensure continued protection of the St. Lawrence River and our nation’s other inland waterways.

Please reach out to your Congress person and express your concerns with the House bill.  If your House member is not on the T&I Committee ask them to reach out to the T&I Committee with your concerns.

Here are the basic points to make:

  • Strike the environmental streamlining provisions in the bill – Sections 101 and 103.
  • Strike the provision that eliminates the requirement for “reconnaissance studies” – the provision we used successfully to stop expansion of the Seaway – Section 104.
  • Amend the “Inland Waterways Stakeholder Roundtable” language to require the inclusion of conservation organizations (such as Save The River) – Section 215.
  • Strike provisions that encourage massive amounts of additional dredging at full taxpayer expense.
  • Amend the bill to require the Corps to use cost-effective, low impact solutions wherever possible.
  • Amend the bill to require mitigation consistent with recommendations made by the nation’s fish and wildlife experts pursuant to the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act.

To find your Congress person click here.

Of course, Bill Owens should also hear from all of us since he represents the St. Lawrence River region.

To read the most recent letter from a broad coalition of national and regional conservation groups, including Save The River, opposing environmental “streamlining” click here.

For additional background click here to a read the National Wildlife Federation’s section-by-section analysis of the House bill.

Members of New York’s Congressional delegation on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee are:

Feel free to contact us with any questions or feedback you may receive.

** Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) is legislation which provides for the conservation and development of water and related resources and authorizes the Secretary of the Army to construct various projects for improvements to rivers and harbors of the United States, and for other purposes deemed appropriate by the U.S. Congress and the President of the United States.
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Action Alert! Thank the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for Formally Rejecting Seaway Expansion!

August 15th, 2011 | Posted by admin

Almost ten years ago, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began spending millions of taxpayer dollars studying proposals to physically expand the St. Lawrence Seaway to allow in much larger ships. Seaway expansion would require dredging hundreds of millions of cubic yards throughout the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes, removing portions of islands in narrow reaches of the St. Lawrence River, and replacing numerous locks to accommodate larger ships. This massive re-tooling proposal to enlarge Great Lake and St. Lawrence River shipping channels would destroy miles of fragile habitat, re-suspend polluted sediments and exacerbate the problem of invasive species coming into the Great Lake in ship ballast tanks.

The report – called the Great Lakes Navigation System Review – was met with fierce opposition across the Great Lakes basin. Hundreds of citizens spoke out against the plan at public hearings and submitted comments opposing further study of Seaway expansion. Hundreds of environmental and conservation groups weighed in demanding that expansion be removed as an option for the future of the St. Lawrence Seaway System.

Today – almost ten years later, the Corps has finally, formally removed these expansion options from the report, thereby removing the recommendation to further study the idea of Seaway expansion. This change signals a significant shift in direction, and an opportunity for the region to rally behind a healthy future for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River!

Visit Save The River’s Navigation Study page for more information. You can also read the full Supplement to the Great Lakes Navigation Study on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website.

Background

Fifty years ago, the St. Lawrence Seaway opened amid great fanfare and ringing predictions of economic growth in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River region. Unfortunately, these predictions went unfulfilled, while the introduction of invasive species from ocean going vessels to the fresh waters brought disastrous environmental consequences.

The Seaway operates well below its capacity, yet over the past 22 years citizens have had to repeatedly fight back expansion proposals that would seek to allow wider, longer, and deeper vessels to operate on the Great Lakes. Physical expansion would worsen the environmental impacts of the Seaway. Communities around the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River have called on the governments of the United States and Canada to make it clear that expanding the Seaway is no longer an option.

Today, we also know that there are specific and tangible economic benefits linked to a healthy Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. There is currently unprecedented momentum behind policies that will begin to restore the ecology of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River region, and it is essential that commercial navigation activities on the Seaway are reformed to make them consistent with these restoration goals.

In the latest iteration of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway Study, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has made a significant step forward by formally removing expansion from future planning for commercial navigation on the Lakes and River. This is a significant victory for communities around the region. We need your help to write the Corps and thank them for listening to and acting on community input.

For more information, download Save The River’s background fact sheet on the Great Lakes Navigation System Study.

Take Action!

Write the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and thank them for taking Seaway expansion off the table!

Find contact information and sample language below. Please call us with any questions, and thank you for speaking out for the protection of the St. Lawrence River!

Points to include in your Letter:

• Explain why the St. Lawrence River/Great Lakes is important to you.

• Support the Corps’ removal of Seaway expansion options in the Supplement to the Reconnaissance Study for the Great Lakes Navigation System Review.

• Urge the Corps to focus future study on reducing the existing, historic and future environmental impacts of commercial navigation on the resource.

• Thank the Corps for listening to the public and taking Seaway expansion off the table!

Send your comments by August 31st to the addresses below:

Project Manager

GLNS – Supplemental Recon.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

7th Floor

477 Michigan Avenue

Detroit, MI 48226

Thank you for speaking out on behalf of the health of the St. Lawrence River!

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A Shift in Direction – Seaway Expansion Formally Rejected!

August 2nd, 2011 | Posted by admin

In 1999, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began a study to determine the feasibility of expanding the Seaway to accommodate movement of larger shipping vessels through the Seaway. (Visit our Navigation Study page for more background.)

The expansion of the Seaway would mean the destruction of miles of fragile habitat, re-suspension of polluted sediments and exacerbate the introduction of invasive species into the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.

Today – more than ten years later, the Corps finally, formally removed these expansion options from the report, thereby removing the recommendation to further study the idea of Seaway expansion. This change signals a significant shift in direction, and an opportunity for the region to rally behind a healthy future for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River!

Download our backgrounder – Seaway Expansion and the Great Lakes Navigation System Review – for more information on the history of the issue and a summary of the current report. Or, download the full U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Supplemental Reconnaissance Study.

Take Action

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is holding a public comment period, which ends August 31, 2011. Download an action alert that includes details on how to submit comments to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

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Victory! Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River Navigation Study takes a 180: Webinar spots still available!

July 29th, 2011 | Posted by admin

Join Save The River and Great Lakes United for a free lunch-time briefing on the latest news from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River Navigation study. (Learn more about Save The River’s involvement in this issue here)

For more information on the webinar and how to register, read on for information from Great Lakes United.

Email not displaying correctly? View it in your browser.
It’s not too late to reserve your spot at our free webinar!

Join a discussion with experts Jennifer Caddick and Stephanie Weiss on the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River Navigation Study.

This webinar will take place on Tuesday, August 2nd at 12:00pm EDT.

Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/617942966

Victory! Great Lakes- St. Lawrence River Navigation Study takes a 180!
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposals to widen and deepen locks and channels on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River have long been a point of contention for those concerned with Lakes and River protection and restoration. Widespread citizen engagement in Corps planning over the past decade stressed the need for commercial navigation to operate sustainably within this fragile freshwater environment. In a huge victory, the recently released final Great Lakes Navigation Review Supplemental Reconnaissance Report reflects citizen concerns and rejects initial recommendations to physically expand locks and channels. The Report also added some promising recommendations on determining how to reduce environmental impacts of commercial navigation.

Join a discussion with Jennifer Caddick and Stephanie Weiss from Save the River to discuss the significant changes in the latest Corps navigation Report, and how your organization can get involved. Facilitator: Jennifer Nalbone, Great Lakes United

Title: Victory! Great Lakes- St. Lawrence River Navigation Study takes a 180!
Date: Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Time: 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EDT

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.
System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server
Macintosh®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.5 or newer

Great Lakes United is pleased to offer this service to our members and the public.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Lauren Cheal at lcheal@glu.org.

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