In a March 9, 2021 letter to Congressional leadership, the Great Lakes Governors encouraged Congress to approve the Great Lakes Winter Commerce Act, (S. 576 and H.R. 1561). This legislation codifies into law the US Coast Guard’s (USCG) responsibilities for icebreaking on the Great Lakes to minimize commercial disruption in the winter months. Icebreaking is essential for the movement of commercial and other vessels on the Great Lakes. Icebreaking supports the national steel manufacturing industry by providing access to the supply of raw materials, especially iron ore and limestone shipped across the Great Lakes by vessels.
Maritime transportation is a backbone of the region’s economy, and icebreaking is critically important to the efficiency and competitiveness of the regional maritime system. The nation’s manufacturing industry and Great Lakes commercial shipping depend on icebreaking, and increased icebreaking capacity will help the businesses and people that rely on the maritime industry to transport their goods to market and grow our regional economy.
The Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors’ and Premiers’ Regional Maritime Strategy is designed to double maritime trade, shrink the environmental footprint of the region’s transportation network, and support the region’s industrial core. The Governors and Premiers will continue working together to capitalize on this interconnected, inter-jurisdictional transportation system and increase the economic competitiveness of the entire region.
A copy of the complete letter can be found here.