Seaway report leaves unanswered questions
By Brian Dwyer
Posted November 27, 2007
CLAYTON, N.Y. -- It started out with heated debate. Should the St. Lawrence Seaway be expanded to allow bigger ships though? The debate became a full fledged American and Canadian study with the Army Corp of Engineers.
Groups like Save The River in Clayton say expanding the locks and rivers would only cause more environmental problems.
When a final report on the study was released late Monday night, and it made no mention of physical expansion, Save The River said it was a small victory. But the fact it wasn't officially eliminated either, is a bit confusing.
"Expansion of the river is just a bad idea." Save The River Executive Director Jennifer Caddick said. "We would like to see the initial recommendations to pursue physical expansion of the seaway rescinded and removed from further study."
Save The River admits it hasn't had time to really sink its teeth into the report, but it quickly recognized the report's wish to increase the amount of smaller shipping traffic. Saying only half of it is being utilized.
"Increased focus on short-sea shipping will better integrate the GLSLS with road and rail systems, while providing shippers with a cost-effective, timely and reliable means to transport goods." The report said on a press release.
And while the report also mentions preserving the ecosystem, Caddick believes adding more ships might make that difficult.
"We would have to understand what that traffic is coming from." Caddick replied. "We certainly don't want to see more ocean-going vessels because those bring with them invasive species introduction."
In the next couple of days, Save The River says it plans to form a committee of its own to do an in-depth analysis of the full report.
Once it does that, it will submit comments and questions that it says need to be answered.
The report also recommends spending tens of millions of dollars annually on repair and maintenance on the Seaway facilities.