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GLIN==> Seaway Study Misses Opportunity to Foster Sustainable Shipping



Seaway Study Misses Opportunity to Foster Sustainable Shipping

Buffalo, NY, January 22, 2008 – In the newly released Final Report of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Study, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has backed away from Seaway expansion, but missed an enormous opportunity to develop a blueprint for a sustainable shipping system argue forty-four groups from across the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River region.


“The Corps has finally recognized what communities along the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes have known for some time – expansion is the wrong direction for the River and Lakes,” stated Jennifer Caddick, Save the River Executive Director. “Unfortunately, this report falls short of articulating the right direction by trivializing the environmental impacts of shipping on the Lakes and River.”


You can read the letter online here


“The Final Report appears to justify ‘business as usual’ by conveniently ignoring the impacts of invasive species and climate change.  Environment Canada estimate hundreds of millions are spent every year by Great Lakes communities trying to deal with zebra mussels and other invasive species introduced by ocean-vessels,” explains Jennifer Nalbone, Campaign Director from Great Lakes United.  “The viability of future navigation with the looming impacts of climate change on levels and flows is also a huge gap in the report’s credibility.”


These sentiments were expressed in a letter sent last week to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in response to the study. The letter was signed by 44 groups in the United States and Canada, representing a diverse community of interests ranging from environmental, conservation, fishing, boating, residential, labour, tribal, and First Nations.


While the binational report claims to envision a ‘truly sustainable’ navigation system, it fails to address many of the destructive practices of the shipping industry on the Great Lakes.  Ranking at the top of these threats are invasive species, which hitch a ride in the ballast tanks of ocean-going vessels and have caused tremendous damage to the ecosystem of the River and Lakes.  The binational report also fails to prepare the shipping industry for a potentially enormous reduction of vessel capacity under future climate change scenarios.


The most significant shortcomings of the report include:

  • Failure to quantify the environmental costs and benefits;
  • Dismissal of navigation’s responsibility to reduce environmental degradation in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River;
  • Dismissal of the continued threat of invasive species introductions;
  • Failure to adequately address climate change scenarios; and,
  • Lack of cost or benefit estimates for short sea shipping.


“The shipping industry and the shoreline communities along the Seaway need a blueprint for sustainable development in uncertain times,” says Derek Stack, Executive Director for Great Lakes United.  “Ignoring climate change and invasive species leaves the report grossly inadequate as a planning tool and undermines future investment”.


Given the inadequacies of the study, the groups urge the United States and Canada to consider the issues raised in the letter during future navigation planning. The groups are also urging the Corps to go back and amend their 2002 Reconnaissance Report to formally remove expansion from options for future study. A copy of the letter is attached.


Read the letter: http://www.glu.org/english/News/080122_glsls_release.htm




Jennifer Nalbone

Great Lakes United

(716) 213-0408


Jennifer Caddick

Save the River

(315) 686-2010


The following groups are listed on the attached letter and are also available for interviews:


Illinois:  Joel Brammeier, Alliance for the Great Lakes (312) 939-0838

New York: Les Monostory, Izaak Walton League of America (315) 637-6735

Michigan: Captain Denny Grinold, Michigan Charter Boat Association (517) 819 7991

Ontario: Bob Duncanson, Georgian Bay Association (416) 465-6315

Pennsylvania: Tom Fuhrman, Lake Erie Region Conservancy (814) 824-2407





Brent Gibson

Director, Communications

(613) 867-9861

bgibson@glu.org | www.glu.org


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