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E-M:/ Great Lakes Navigation System review

Enviro-Mich message from "Scott McEwen" <scott@watershedcouncil.org>

From: Jennifer Nalbone [mailto:jen@glu.org]
Sent: Sunday, September 15, 2002 8:22 PM
To: jen@glu.org

Binational organizations oppose the Corps Great Lakes Navigation System

Organizations across the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River region sent a letter
to the U.S. Congress and the Army Corps of Engineers urging them to "halt
this present Great Lakes Navigation System Review." The 51 organizational
signatories said they "stand ready to assist the Corps with projects that
restore our wetlands and fisheries, clean up the toxic hot spots and ensure
that our waters are safe to drink, swim and fish," but, "this proposal runs
counter to the discussions and planning underway throughout the region to
mobilize efforts to restore the Great Lakes."

Concerns with the Corps plan to "improve" Great Lakes commercial navigation
by physically widening and deepening connecting channels, locks and ports

 Exotic species: More, larger ocean-going vessels entering the basin would
increase the frequency and diversity of exotic species introduced into the
Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.

 Dredging: Hundreds of millions of cubic yards of sediments, much of it
contaminated, will be dredged during the project. Dredging and disposal of
contaminated sediments on this scale is unprecedented. In biologically rich
and shallow aquatic ecosystems like Lake St. Clair, the potential for
environmental destruction is dramatic.

 Blasting: Senior St. Lawrence River pilots say islands bordering the
current ship channel in the Thousand Islands region would have to be blasted
to accommodate larger vessels.

 Surge waves: Impacts of operating larger ships include larger surge waves
that will increase shoreline erosion, property damage and water turbidity,
reduce sunlight penetration, and degrade wetlands.

 Lower/higher levels: Changes to water flows threaten lake levels and
shoreline habitat. The alternative is installing compensating works to
mitigate changes in water flow-- which would create zones of dead water and
threaten fish and other aquatic life.

 Public: Potential impacts to property owners and resource-dependent
communities add overwhelmingly to the economic downsides of the project.

 Past studies: Previous Great Lakes commercial navigation expansion studies
have concluded that expansion is economically unjustifiable.

 Canadian participation: Thirteen of the fifteen locks on the St. Lawrence
River are in Canada, Canadian funds are needed for the study to fully
proceed, yet Canada remains uncommitted to the project.

Check out the letter at:

ACTION: Call your Senators and Representative on the Great Lakes Navigation
System review

In the U.S., funding in the fiscal year 2003 Energy and Water Development
Appropriations would enable the Corps to begin the first year of the full
6-8 year Great Lakes Navigation Feasibility study. The multi-year
feasibility study is based on the options and recommendations outlined in
the Corps initial draft "reconnaissance study."

Returning from recess this month, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee
has approved $2-million for the Corps feasibility study in the Energy and
Water Development Appropriations. In a Senate subcommittee, $700,000 was
marked up for the study. Differences between the House and Senate
appropriations will have to be resolved in conference. Although
appropriations for the feasibility study slowly proceed, many Great Lakes
congressional members are wrestling with whether and how to address the GLNS
review controversy this year.

Your input is critical in the next few weeks! Please let your Senators and
Representative know that you want to see:

 Elimination of funding for the Great Lakes Navigation Feasibility study in
the FY03 Energy and Water Development Appropriations.

 Funds for an independent review inserted into the pending Water Resources
Development Act. Ask that a review 1) Perform an independent analysis of the
economic justification and environmental impacts of Great Lakes Navigation
expansion as proposed in the Corps reconnaissance study, and 2)
Independently assess the full range of options for Great Lakes commercial
navigation--and prioritize particular ways to operate commercial navigation
compatibly with Great Lakes ecosystem protection and restoration.

Please call the Congressional switchboard and ask for your Senators and
Representative at (202) 224-3121. For a few commercial navigation options
compatible with Great Lakes ecosystem protection and restoration, go to:
www.glu.org <http://www.glu.org/> and check out GLU's letters to the Corps
and the Honorable Minister David Collenette.

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