Just before the 4th of July holiday, Congressman Huizenga wrote an op-ed that was published by the Holland Sentinel discussing the importance of the Great Lakes Economy and the threats posed to it by not dredging harbors along the Lakeshore. Additionally, Bill discusses the threat posed by invasive species and three steps to prevent damage to the ecosystem and the economy.
“It’s currently estimated that 18 million cubic yards of sediment clog ports and waterways throughout the Great Lakes. To put this number into perspective, a standard dump truck holds about 15 cubic yards of material, so 18 million cubic yards of sediment would fill the equivalent of 1.2 million dump trucks. If these dump trucks were placed in a line, they would span 6,694 miles; this is greater than the distance between Holland and Beijing, China. The backlog of sediment not only decreases the amount of goods that can be shipped among our interconnected harbors, it threatens jobs throughout West Michigan. If our ports are not properly dredged, it means smaller ships, which means smaller loads that result in less economic activity and fewer jobs along the lakeshore and throughout West Michigan.
Recognizing the immediate need for action, I helped draft the Great Lakes Navigation System Sustainability Act and fought for its inclusion in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act. This bill, which President Barack Obama recently signed into law, classifies the Great Lakes Navigation System as a unified body for the purposes of funding water infrastructure projects. Properly funding harbor dredging across the Great Lakes will further increase economic activity for an industry that supports approximately 130,000 jobs. An additional benefit to West Michigan from WRRDA is that it creates a way forward for emerging harbors allowing recreational boating to flourish.
All that being said, it’s important to keep in mind that a lack of dredging is not the only factor currently preventing the Great Lakes from reaching its full economic potential. Invasive species pose a serious economic threat in addition to the clear environmental danger they create within the ecosystem.”
Read the full op-ed at the Holland Sentinel Here: http://www.hollandsentinel.com/article/20140630/Opinion/140639976#ixzz389tMbLmz