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Enviro-Mich message from "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" <ajs@sagady.com>
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To: glin-announce <glin-announce@great-lakes.net>
Subject: GLIN==> New Soo lock moves closer to reality
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For immediate release

A new large lock at the Soo - a step closer to reality


Ann Arbor, Mich. The Great Lakes Commission and other maritime 
transportation advocates are applauding a major breakthrough in the 
20-year-long effort to build a new large lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.

Congress recently appropriated $3 million toward the project, including 
$1.5 million to begin actual construction. Following 
several  appropriations for planning and design, these are the first 
federal funds to be directed to construction of the new lock, which will 
ease the passage of large vessels between Lake Superior ports and steel 
mills and power plants on other Great Lakes.

This new lock will economically benefit our entire region, said Nathaniel 
E. Robinson, chairman of the Great Lakes Commission. We re excited to see 
that Congress has recognized the significance of this worthy project and 
shown its support by appropriating funds to begin work.

The federal funding is in addition to nearly $5 million already contributed 
by the Great Lakes states of Michigan, Illinois and Pennsylvania. The other 
five Great Lakes states have also agreed to contribute a share of the cost 
and are devising funding strategies.

The new large lock will replace two smaller ones built more than 80 years 
ago. Presently, only one lock at the complex on the St. Marys River at 
Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan can handle the 1,000-foot freighters that make 
up the backbone of the Great Lakes shipping fleet.

Right now, all of our large ships have to pass through that one lock, said 
George Ryan, president of the Lake Carriers Association. If an accident or 
sabotage were to disable that lock, we d lose nearly three-quarters of our 
carrying capacity between the upper and lower Great Lakes.

All U.S. domestic iron ore comes from the Lake Superior region and most of 
it passes through the Soo Locks. The 80 - 90 million tons of cargo that 
pass through the Soo Locks each year also includes grain for overseas 
markets and low-sulfur western coal for eastern utilities.

Studies have found that waterborne transportation is safer, more 
fuel-efficient and has fewer harmful emissions than rail and truck 
transportation, Robinson said. This new lock will help ensure that this 
beneficial mode of transport continues to play a vital role in Great Lakes 
commerce.

Construction of the new lock could begin as early as next fall, with the 
building of coffer dams necessary to dewater of the aging Sabin and Davis 
locks, which it will replace. The project is expected to take an estimated 
five years, at a total cost of $225 million.

In addition to beginning construction, the funds approved by Congress last 
week will also pay for continued planning, engineering and design work.

Efforts to build a second large lock have been under way since the 1980s. 
Those efforts received significant assistance under the provisions of the 
Water Resources Development Acts of 1996 and 1999, in which Congress 
reduced the states share of the project and allowed it to be paid over 50 
years, interest-free. The Great Lakes Commission has since agreed to become 
the nonfederal project sponsor responsible for coordinating the payment of 
the cost share.

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Contact: Mike Donahue, President/CEO, Great Lakes Commission, 734-665-9135 
or <mailto:mdonahue@glc.org>mdonahue@glc.org



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Alex J. Sagady & Associates  http://my.voyager.net/~ajs/sagady.pdf

Environmental Enforcement, Technical Review, Public Policy and
Communications on Air, Water and Waste/Community Environmental Protection

PO Box 39,  East Lansing, MI  48826-0039
(517) 332-6971; (517) 332-8987 (fax); ajs@sagady.com
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