Great Lakes Commission calls on President and Congress to provide full funding for new Soo Lock
Indianapolis, Ind. – The Great Lakes Commission (GLC) today called on President Trump and the U.S. Congress to fully fund the construction of a new large lock at the Soo Locks complex. Currently there are only two operational locks at the Soo Locks – the Poe and MacArthur – and only the Poe Lock is large enough to handle 85 percent of the cargo that passes through the Locks, including nearly all the iron ore needed for U.S. steel production. The GLC called for the funding in a resolution passed at its 2018 Annual Meeting, held Tuesday and Wednesday in Indianapolis.
“The Soo Locks are critical for our economy and an unplanned closure of the Poe Lock alone would result in a severe recession for our nation,” said John Linc Stine, chair of the GLC and commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. “We urge the President and Congress to get a new lock built – and soon.”
There have been no comprehensive improvements to the Soo Locks facility in nearly 50 years. The Department of Homeland Security has projected that a six-month, unplanned closure of the Poe Lock would result in a nearly complete shutdown of regional steel production, 11 million job losses in the United States and 5 million in Canada and Mexico, a severe recession, and a $1.1 trillion decrease in national GDP.
In June the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed a Soo Locks Economic Validation Report that established an updated benefit-cost ratio of 2.42 from the construction of a new Soo lock, clearly confirming its economic benefit and setting the stage for a new Congressional authorization for the project and its inclusion in the President’s budget. Congress is poised to provide the necessary authorization in upcoming water resources legislation, leaving a funding commitment from the President the key outstanding need to move forward with the project.
At its meeting in Indianapolis, the GLC also heard from experts on maritime transportation and coastal resiliency, discussed the economic impact and future direction of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, and unanimously re-elected Stine as its chair and Sharon Jackson, deputy general counsel for Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb, as its vice-chair.
The GLC will next convene in spring 2019 in Ann Arbor, MI. Additional information will be available at www.glc.org.
The Great Lakes Commission, led by chair John Linc Stine, commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, is an interstate compact agency established under state and U.S. federal law and dedicated to promoting a strong economy, healthy environment and high quality of life for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region and its residents. The Commission consists of governors’ appointees, state legislators, and agency officials from its eight member states. Associate membership for Ontario and Québec was established through the signing of a “Declaration of Partnership.” The Commission maintains a formal Observer program involving U.S. and Canadian federal agencies, tribal authorities, binational agencies and other regional interests. The Commission office is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Learn more at www.glc.org.