Wednesday, June 6, the U.S. House of Representatives passed Congressman Rick Nolan's bipartisan amendment expressing support for construction of a new lock at the Soo Locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
Nolan's office characterized the locks as vital to the national economy, national security and national need for new infrastructure.
"The Soo Locks are in danger of obsolescence due to outdated infrastructure. We badly need a new lock to be built-and millions of good paying jobs depend on our success in getting this done," Nolan, D-Crosby, stated in a news release. "The Soo Locks are the gateway that links the Port of Duluth and Lake Superior to the rest of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway. Thirteen percent of our annual gross national product-much of it Iron Range iron ore and other Minnesota products-move through this critical shipping corridor. Not to mention millions upon millions of tons of agricultural commodities necessary to feed our nation and the world."
According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, a catastrophic failure at the Soo Locks-as a result of structural breakdown or terrorism-would result in the loss of 10 million jobs, and force mines, mills and manufacturers to shut their doors. The study concluded a worst-case scenario would throw America into another recession far more severe than what the nation experienced in 2008-09.
Nolan noted he and a bipartisan group of members from the Great Lakes Region paved the way for the construction project by securing $1.3 million for an economic feasibility study. According to the release, Nolan and others have urged the president to follow through on his promise to order the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to place construction of a new Soo Lock at the top of their priority list and move quickly to get the project underway.