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Great Lakes Article:

New York State turning on the Great Lakes Navigation System review
Jennifer Nalbone
Habitat and Biodiversity Coordinator
Great Lakes United
Posted 10/28/2002

New York Governor George Pataki, his opponent in the gubernatorial election H. Carl McCall, and New York Senator Hillary Clinton followed Representative John McHugh in opposing the Great Lakes Navigation System review.

The Watertown Times reported a statement from Governor Patakiís spokeswoman Jennifer Farina on October 2nd, "The governor has the same concerns as Congressman McHugh and supports his position on it." On October 16th the Times quoted gubernatorial candidate Carl McCallís spokeswoman Serena Torrey as saying,  "The plan is misguided. It exacts too many environmental costs. The Army Corps of Engineers plan destroys too much and provides too little in economic benefit to be supported." On October 19th the Times reported Senator Clinton as saying, "Deepening and altering the St. Lawrence Seaway to accommodate larger ships that cannot now navigate the system is simply the wrong plan for the St. Lawrence River and the wrong plan for the north country.

There is an urgent need for more faxes, phone calls and letters to all Great Lakes Senators and Representatives on this issue. Funding for the GLNS feasibility study will be presented when Congress returns on November 12th and many Great Lakes politicians are saying they have heard little public opinion. Please check out National Wildlife Federationís "Take Action" page to send an easy and quick message: http://ga1.org//campaign/greatlakes08162002?source=action_index

Just 7% of Great Lakes commercial navigation yields 100% of invasions from ocean-going vessels

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Great Lakes Navigation System review reports telling information on the ratios of Great Lakes domestic, regional and foreign commercial trade. Currently, 93% of the trade on the Great Lakes is domestic and regional--that is domestic movement of goods between U.S. ports (57%) and Canadian ports (12%), or regional movement of goods between U.S. and Canadian ports (24%). This domestic and regional trade does move invasive species around the basin, but does not initially introduce invasive species. Only 7% of commercial shipping in the Great Lakes is from international import or export. Yet, for that percent of trade, we have allowed access to ocean-going vessels carrying invasive species such as the zebra and quagga mussels, round goby, Eurasian ruffe, spiny water flea and fishhook flea.

Shipping and port representatives say navigation system expansion is a long shot

Shipping and port representatives, proponents of the Great Lakes Navigation System review, have gone on record saying that system expansion is a long shot. If chances of expansion are virtually nonexistent--previous Great Lakes Navigation System studies also found that expansion would have negative environmental impact and is economically unjustified--then why spend $20 million and 6-8 years studying it? To make sense, a study should investigate new approaches to facilitating the movement of goods in the Great Lakes basin, and find solutions for regional shipping that are also solutions for the entire region.

It is not hard to understand why fiscal conservatives are opposed to a $20 million study that would predominantly look at system expansion when industry representatives themselves are saying that expansion is a long shot.

       Georges Robichon, senior vice president of Fedmar Ltd., a Montreal-based lake carrier that operates an ocean-going fleet, considers expansion on such a scale unlikely and unnecessary. But he does support more modest improvements. (from the Duluth News Tribune, September 23rd)
       Also in the Duluth News Tribune, September 23rd article, Davis Helberg, Duluth Seaway Port Authority executive director said, "Maybe it makes sense to make only a few adjustments. Or maybe it makes sense to do nothing."
       "íThe chances of expansion are slim to none,í said Helen A. Brohl, executive director of the U.S. Great Lakes Shipping Association. (from the Watertown Times, October 19th)

Essentially, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers draft reconnaissance report proposes Ĺ of one option that does not include plans for system expansion. Option 1 outlines lock maintenance (no expansion) and port and channel deepening to 30 feet  (expansion). Option 2 outlines modifications in Option 1 plus Welland Canal lock widening (expansion). Option 3 outlines modifications in Option 2 plus deepening and widening portions of the St. Lawrence Seaway (expansion). Option 4 outlines modifications in Option 3 plus more channel deepening to 35 feet (expansion). Option 4 outlines modifications in Option 4 plus deepening channels in the St. Marys River and the Soo locks (expansion).

**Organizational Member Drive**Join the Great Lakes United coalition**
Please help strengthen the only inter-national coalition working to protect the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River basin.
Join GLU at:
www.glu.org or contact Maureen by phone: 716-886-0142 or email: moe@glu.org.

Great Lakes Unitedís Habitat and Biodiversity task force produces Habitat Watch with support from the George Gund Foundation and GLU coalition members. The task force is committed to protecting natural areas, wildlife, and strong conservation laws across the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River ecosystem. To join the coalition, subscribe, or send stories, contact GLU at: (716) 886-0142; fax: (716) 886-0303; or email: jen@glu.org. Past issues of Habitat Watch can be found at: http://www.sustain.org/Bulletins/index.cfm


Jennifer Nalbone
Habitat and Biodiversity Coordinator
Great Lakes United
1300 Elmwood Avenue
Cassety Hall- Buffalo State College
Buffalo, NY 14222

ph: (716) 886-0142  fax:-0303
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