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News stories tagged with "shipping"

A dock in Morristown last month, posted by Susan Steffen LaRue to Save the River's Facebook page.
A dock in Morristown last month, posted by Susan Steffen LaRue to Save the River's Facebook page.

Thousand Islands boaters nervous as water level dips

The sun and warm temperatures are starting to bring boaters back to the St. Lawrence River. But especially in the Thousand Islands, they're being greeted by unusually low water levels. A dry winter and warm spring across the Great Lakes is mostly to blame. But that hasn't stopped lawmakers on both sides of the border from clamoring for a new system for controlling water flows. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article
Photo by Janet Sullins/Save the River.
Photo by Janet Sullins/Save the River.

Save The River prods Seaway for transparency

Save the River, based in the Thousand Islands, wants the St. Lawrence Seaway to make public how it decides when to open the waterway every spring. The environmental group has filed a legal petition with the federal government. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

Great Lakes states push for federal action against Asian carp

The invasive Asian carp and its potentially devastating impact on the Great Lakes were the focus of a Congressional hearing in Washington yesterday.

The agressive fish has already infested the Mississippi River basin, and traces of its genetic material have been found in Lake Michigan for the first time.

Illinois temporarily closed navigational locks near Chicago to keep Asian Carp out of the Great Lakes. Representatives of the states surrounding the lakes are pressing the federal government to do more, faster. Martha Foley has more.  Go to full article
DEC chief Pete Grannis, left, with Clayton town supervisor, Justin Taylor.
DEC chief Pete Grannis, left, with Clayton town supervisor, Justin Taylor.

New York pushes for better water levels management

Friday, the community of Clayton celebrated the completion of a $2.5 million clean-up of prime waterfront on the St. Lawrence River. Frink America's former snowplow plant polluted eight acres of riverside property in the heart of the Thousand Islands. Town supervisor Justin Taylor says the clean-up took almost ten years. The redeveloped property may include a hotel, multi-family residences, businesses, and a riverwalk. The head of New York's Department of Environmental Conservation, Pete Grannis, came to Clayton to deliver the official certificate of completion in person. Grannis stayed in Clayton Saturday for Save the River's Winter Weekend. He updated the members of the environmental group on the stalled study to control water levels on the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario. In 2008, the International Joint Commission finished a 5-year, $20 million review of water levels and issued a new plan for controlling them. But then the IJC rescinded that plan, put the whole project on hold, and went back to the bargaining table. Grannis told David Sommerstein that was due to strong opposition from New York.  Go to full article

Jeff Alexander: invasive species "a slow-motion wildfire"

Invasive species - from zebra mussels and round gobies to the bloody red shrimp discovered three years ago - are one of the top threats to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. They've done billions of dollars in damage to the region's economy and environment. Most entered the Great Lakes through the ballast water of foreign ships on the St. Lawrence Seaway. Jeff Alexander has reported on invasive species for 25 years. He's also written a book about how most of those critters got here - hidden in the ballast of foreign ships on the St. Lawrence Seaway. The book is called Pandora's Locks: The Opening of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway. Alexander is the keynote speaker at the Save the River Winter Weekend, Saturday, February 6 at the Clayton Opera House. Alexander told David Sommerstein he first training his reporting in invasive species in 1989, when zebra mussels shut down the municipal water system in Munroe, Michigan.  Go to full article
Asian carp. Photo: The Environment Report
Asian carp. Photo: The Environment Report

Asian Carp update

A big monster of a fish is at the center of a US Supreme Court case. Asian Carp are making their way up the Mississippi towards the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway. Michigan's Attorney General - along with New York and several other Great Lakes states - filed a lawsuit asking the Court to close a Chicago canal in order to keep the carp out. The shipping industry says the consequences would be devastating. Jennifer Guerra has a closer look at what's at stake.  Go to full article
U.S. Seaway Administrator Terry Johnson hopes containers (below) will revive the waterway's fortunes.
U.S. Seaway Administrator Terry Johnson hopes containers (below) will revive the waterway's fortunes.

Seaway chief hopes for traffic turnaround

On the St. Lawrence Seaway's website, there's a picture of a freighter docked next to mountains of "containers" - those boxes that fit on trucks and trains and carry virtually every good you can think of. Containers are the currency of global trade. Yet they're passing the St. Lawrence Seaway by. Just a tenth of one percent of all cargo that travelled the St. Lawrence Seaway this year came in a container. Most of the cargo is bulk commodities, stuff like iron ore, coal, steel, and grain - the building blocks of industry that just disappear when the economy tanks. So it's no surprise 2009 was a brutal year for the Seaway, with tonnage down 30%. In fact, Seaway traffic has for the most part decreased since the late 1970s. This all gives Terry Johnson a headache. As head of the U.S. side of the shipping channel that links the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean, Johnson's in charge of turning those numbers around. He told David Sommerstein if gas goes back up to 4 dollars a gallon, or if the roads become clogged with truck traffic, the Seaway will benefit. But for now, Johnson places his hopes in those containers. And he hopes they'll come from Nova Scotia.  Go to full article
U.S. Seaway Administrator, Terry Johnson, with a picture of the St. Lawrence River in the background.
U.S. Seaway Administrator, Terry Johnson, with a picture of the St. Lawrence River in the background.

Seaway Chief: No expansion, no winter navigation

The head of the St. Lawrence Seaway is doing a blitz through the North Country. U.S. Administrator Terry Johnson met with local media. And yesterday he visited the offices of Save The River in Clayton for the first time since being appointed three years ago. The environmental group has often been at odds with the agency that runs the shipping lanes that link the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean. Johnson says he was disturbed by questions over Seaway expansion during the 23rd Congressional race. He says he wants to set the record straight: digging deeper channels in the St. Lawrence River is off the table. "It's a non-issue," Johnson says. "It's just not gonna happen." Yesterday, Johnson spoke with David Sommerstein at Seaway headquarters in Massena. Later this week, we'll hear their conversation about the economics of the Seaway and why traffic has dropped off over the years. Today, Johnson talks about invasive species, shipping during springtime icy conditions, and the history of mistrust many North Country residents have toward the Seaway.  Go to full article

Save The River sounds alarm on Seaway expansion

A North Country green group has sounded the alarm about climate change legislation recently approved by the House of Representatives. Save The River, based in the Thousand Islands, sent an alert to members to tell their senators to keep expansion of the St. Lawrence Seaway out of new climate change legislation.

Expansion of the international shipping lanes is an old issue. The Army Corps of Engineers has studied the idea for years. But there's been little political muscle behind it. Seaway Administrator Terry Johnson has said Seaway expansion is "off the table." But Save The River Director Jennifer Caddick says that's apparently not so. She told Martha Foley a last minute amendment to the House climate change bill passed in late June would provide funding for the physical work--bigger locks, channel dredging--needed to allow bigger ships to use the waterway.  Go to full article

Seaway at 50: Seaway chief looks forward

U.S. and Canadian dignitaries will officially open the St. Lawrence Seaway's 50th anniversary celebration this afternoon in Massena. The Obama Administration is sending department of transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. Seaway administrator Terry Johnson will also be on hand to speak. Johnson took over the U.S. agency that runs the Seaway two and a half years ago. He spoke with David Sommerstein about the waterway's legacy and future.  Go to full article

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