Congressman Bill Huizenga (R-MI)
Representative Bill Huizenga (R-MI, right) accepts his 2014 Great Lakes Legislator of the Year Award from Mark Pietrocarlo, American Steamship Company. Congressman Huizenga has shown incredible resolve in addressing the dredging crisis on the Great Lakes. His laser-like focus on the issue is one of the big reasons the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) passed by the House in 2013 contains provisions key to ending the dredging crisis. The bill not only calls for more funding for dredging, but designates the Great Lakes a system in terms of dredging. Huizenga’s efforts to end the dredging crisis also have state-wide benefits. Michigan is the state most impacted by the dredging crisis. Michigan boasts more deep-draft ports than the other seven Great Lakes states combined. The largest limestone quarries in the Great Lakes basin and cement plants in Alpena and Charlevoix are dependent on efficient shipping on the Lakes, but the dredging crisis has dramatically reduced the amount of cargo that can be loaded each trip.