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Great Lakes-Seaway News' purpose is to provide news, critical information updates, and thoughtful commentary to those who care about the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System specifically, and the maritime industry in general. It is important that Great Lakes-Seaway News also become a forum and online meeting place so that ideas can be presented, issues can be debated and relationships can be made to advance the seaway system’s interests for now and for the future.

Therefore, Great Lakes Seaway News will serve as the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System's newspaper, its online bulletin board, its meeting place for innovation and discussion, and its clubhouse for the development of plans and activities which will serve those who participate in the online marketplace of ideas.

Great Lakes-Seaway News is an independent publication and as such, is not affiliated in any way with the U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, the Canadian St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or any other agencies of the governments of the United States of America or Canada. 

Great Lakes-Seaway News is a publication of PRI Strategy Management, Inc.  All rights reserved.

Email:  greatlakesseawaynews@gmail.com

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Monday
Jul282014

This Week's Poll Question

Friday
Jul252014

The St. Lawrence Seaway's Opening Ceremony 55 Years Ago

Fifty-five years ago the St. Lawrence Seaway opening ceremony featured a joint appearence by Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower aboard the HMY Britannia.  See the video clip of the event below.

 

Thursday
Jul242014

Boom Times For the Port of Cleveland

The Browns drafted Johnny Manziel, the Indians are in second place, LeBron James has come home to the Cavaliers and the now the Port of Cleveland is on a roll.

The Port of Cleveland reports the Cleveland-Europe Express, the dedicated monthly liner service to Europe that launched in April, had its best month to date in June. This start-up service doubled its revenues in June when compared to either April or May.

“The Port of Cleveland is booming and we are very encouraged by the performance of the new Cleveland-Europe Express service, which is still in its infancy,” said William D. Friedman, Port of Cleveland President and CEO. “The large increase in volume in June bodes well for the remainder of the year as we continue to offer companies and shippers throughout the interior U.S. a faster, more cost-effective and greener shipping alternative to Europe and the world.”

The Port’s traditional maritime and development finance services are also seeing increased demand and are forecasted to have a record year. Vessel calls at the Port of Cleveland are up 75 percent through June, another indicator that the Greater Cleveland economy continues to grow.

Additionally, revenues from the Port’s financing business are forecasted to be at an all-time high. The Port has recently supported critical regional projects, such as The 9, the Flats East Bank Development and the world headquarters of American Greetings, helping to further fuel the momentum in the regional economy.

Wednesday
Jul232014

Rep. Moore Asks U.S. Attorney General To "Take Action" on SS Badger 

Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder yesterday asking Holder "to take immediate action" to ensure that Lake Michigan Carferry LLC (LMC), the owners of the SS Badger, comply with the terms of a 2013 Consent Decree reached with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice filed in federal court.

In her strongly-worded letter, Rep. Moore says:

The Consent Decree required the SS Badger to stop discharging coal ash before the 2015 operating season, reduce ash discharges in the meantime, and pay a civil penalty. For example, Paragraph 32 of the Consent Decree makes clear that, "Beginning the first day of the Badger's calendar year 2013 Operating Season, LMC must operate the Badger in a manner that reduces the amount of coal combusted per Operating Day. LMC must demonstrate compliance with this paragraph..."

LMC's letter to the EPA dated December 20, 2013 appears to show that the Badger's average daily coal consumption rose from 57.518 tons in the 2012 Operating Season to 60.1 tons in the 2013 Operating Season. (2013 Progress Report-December 20, 2013).  This does not demonstrate a reduction in the average amount of coal used to operate the Badger as called for in the Consent Decree.

The Consent Decree stipulates that some penalties for such violations can be implemented only after receipt of written demand to LMC by the United States. To date, however, there is no record of a written demand by the United States to LMC regarding this violation. I would encourage you to make such a demand without delay.

Additoinally, to date, documentation from LMC indicates the company still has not met the December 30, 2013 or April 15, 2014 deadlines to submit plans for engineering to capture coal ash and end discharges of toxic coal ash into Lake Michigan.

A failure to take these steps makes installation of a coal ash retention system--the achievable outcomes that will best serve the public's interest--before the 2015 Operating Season more remote with each passing day.

This Consent Decree represents a legally binding agreement between the parties to bring the Badger into compliance with longstanding federal law protecting our nation's waterways. However, a consent decree is not self-enforcing.

The committee report accompanying the FY 2015 Department of Interior appropriations bill approved by the House Appropriations Committee highlights the need to ensure that the Badger in fact stops duping coal ash into Lake Michigan by 2015. That language calls on all parties (including presumably the DOJ) to remain vigilant in ensuring implementation of the consent deree, and directs EPA to report on specific actions taken since the decree was enetered and actions to be taken to ensure the SS Badger ends its discharges of coal ash.

It is critical that DOJ act swiftly and strongly to address non-compliance with the Consent Decree in order to ensure the goal of that Decree, cessation of of the Badger's dumping of toxic coal ash into Lake Michigan, is met.  

Tuesday
Jul222014

SS Badger's Coal Ash Dumping Days Are Numbered

Despite being bound by a 2013 consent decree issued by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, experts with knowledge of the situation say the owners of the controversial, coal-burning SS Badger carferry may still be exploring gimmicks to allow the aging ship to continue dumping burning coal and dumping the toxic ash into Lake Michigan.

Before entering into the consent agreement, the owners of the Badger, Lake Michigan Carferry LLC spent large sums of money on lobbyists, lawyers and faux-grassroots public relations efforts designed to keep the EPA from including the Badger in its enforcement of rules designed to prevent the dumping of coal ash and other toxins directly into the Great Lakes.

One of those efforts included an amendment to a bill that would exempt any ship designated as a "national historic landmark" from those rules.

The consent decree to which the Badger's owners agreed on in October 2013, binds the company to permanently cease the discharge of coal ash or coal ash slurry into the Lake by the beginning of the 2015 navigation season.

However, it appears that an effort is being mounted on behalf of the Badger to pressure U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell into undercutting the EPA and the federal courts by conferring National Historic Landmark status on the Badger.

The Department of the Interior is as unlikely to grant National Historic Landmark status on the SS Badger as it is to erect a national monument to toxic waste producers.  Experts say Secretary Jewell is highly unlikely to confer any status on the ship that might complicate the consent decree or make it more difficult for the EPA to enforce its rules prohibiting coal ash dumping into the Great Lakes.