March 23, 2021– As the shipping season officially opens this week, the Chamber of Marine Commerce is honoring three U.S. Senators and three U.S. Representatives for their support of sustainable, maritime commerce on the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Seaway system.
Champion of Great Lakes Marine Commerce awards were presented to Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Todd Young (R-IN), Gary Peters (D-MI) and Representatives Mike Gallagher (R-WI8), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH9), and Jackie Walorski (R-IN2). Whether it is outwardly opposing further delay to the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway last spring or fighting to increase funding for infrastructure and ice breaking capabilities in the region, each of our recipients have been an important voice for Great Lakes-Seaway marine commerce.
These legislators have also supported funding for critical infrastructure such as the construction of a new Soo Lock for the binational shipping navigation system – a system that supports more than $35 billion in economic activity and 237,000 jobs in the U.S. and Canada.
Bruce Burrows, President and CEO of the Chamber of Marine Commerce, said: “This past year was difficult for everyone, including frontline marine workers who showed tremendous resiliency to ensure citizens and businesses had the essential food, fuel, power, and materials to keep going during one of the worst health and economic crises in modern history. We want to recognize and thank these Members of Congress for their efforts and their continued championing of the regional economy by supporting sustainable industries like marine.”
As the safest, most efficient and environmentally-smart method of transporting bulk cargo, marine transportation eases highway congestion, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and acts as a catalyst for economic growth.
Shipments of many key cargoes like iron ore, petroleum and construction materials significantly declined in 2020 due to the pandemic. Burrows said that the outlook for 2021 will be dependent on the pace of economic recovery in U.S. and Canada, as well as harmonized, practical, and science-based approaches between the two countries in key areas like high water and ballast water management.
“Going forward, there will be many opportunities to partner with legislators and government officials to build on marine transportation’s significant public interest benefits, and at the same time create jobs, boost our trade potential and protect the environment,” said Burrows.
“The Great Lakes are critical to keeping our economy moving, and helping our farmers and manufacturers reach markets in the region and across the world. Unfortunately, inadequate icebreaking capacity in the Great Lakes is costing us thousands of jobs and millions in business revenue. That’s why I have fought for funding for a new Great Lakes Icebreaker and am working to update the Coast Guard’s icebreaking mission on the Great Lakes. As Chair of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee that oversees the Coast Guard, taking these critical steps to keep commerce moving in our region is a top priority of mine. I’m grateful to the Chamber of Marine Commerce for this recognition, and look forward to working together to protect our Great Lakes and our marine economy.”
— Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
“In the past year I introduced the Great Lakes Winter Commerce Act to increase the ice breaking capacity in the Great Lakes. I also introduced two bills that became law last December, the Great Lakes Navigation Act which ensures that the Great Lakes receive a fair share from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, and the Great Lakes Environmental Sensitivity Index Act, which upgrades the environmental sensitivity index maps for the first time in over two decades.”
“I’m honored to receive this award from the Chamber of Marine Commerce. The Great Lakes provide safe drinking water to over 40 million people in both the U.S. and Canada and are a vital economic engine for communities across the Great Lakes basin,” said Senator Peters. “Protecting the Great Lakes will continue to be one of my top priorities in the Senate – from expanding icebreaking capabilities to ensuring communities have the resources to address rising water levels and shoreline erosion.”
- Expanding icebreaking capabilities to ensure safe and reliable shipping and commerce;
- Increasing funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative;
- Ensuring coastal communities have the resources to address rising water levels and shoreline erosion;
- And funding for the Great Lakes Coastal Resiliency Study.
— Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) (Link to full video)
“The Great Lakes have always been a cherished part of my life, and I’ve remained committed to continuing bipartisan efforts to ensure this natural treasure remains a vital part of American life for generations to come,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “I want to thank the Chamber of Marine Commerce for this recognition, and all of its members for the important work our maritime industry does to support the Great Lakes and the surrounding communities. By working together and prioritizing bipartisan and international collaboration, flexibility, and innovation, we can be good stewards of both the environment and the economy.”
— Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN2) (Link to full video)
“I try to be a defender and champion of the Great Lakes every single day representing north east Wisconsin and I’m grateful to be joined in that effort by so many dedicated people on the ground in north east Wisconsin and throughout the state and a very strong bipartisan coalition we have here in Congress. Look no further than the fact that we’ve been able to defend and increase resources for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative as evidence that that actually works. That type of willingness to put aside partisan politics and do what’s right for the health of the Great Lakes is something that is very important and I intend to be a part of continuing that and build upon that. One priority for me this Congress is passing the Great Lakes Winter Commerce Act, which would codify the Coast Guard ice breaking mission on the Great Lakes, that’s absolutely essential.”
— Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI8), from a video message provided to CMC (Link to full video)
About the Chamber of Marine Commerce
The Chamber of Marine Commerce is a bi-national association that represents more than 130 marine industry stakeholdersincluding major Canadian and American shippers, ports, terminals and marine service providers, as well as domestic and international ship owners. The Chamber advocates for safe, sustainable, harmonized and competitive policy and regulation that recognizes the marine transportation system’s significant advantages in the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence, Coastal and Arctic regions.
Chamber of Marine Commerce