Press Release

Posted on April 11, 2024

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow Lifetime Achievement Supporting U.S. Great Lakes Shipping

WASHINGTON D.C.  (April 10, 2024) – On Wednesday, April 10, 2024, the Great Lakes Maritime Task Force (GLMTF) recognized the significant contributions Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow has made throughout her Congressional career protecting the Great Navigation System and supporting American jobs with investment in U.S.-flagged Great Lakes shipping.

Senator Stabenow, who co-chairs the bipartisan Senate Great Lakes Task Force, has been the driving force behind the protection of our largest freshwater resource and the maritime highway that supports U.S. jobs through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) which was first authored in 2010 and has since received $3.8 billion in funding.

The GLRI has been a major success with funds provided for over 6,800 projects throughout the region protecting the Great Lakes and its waterways against its greatest threats, and addressing problems that impact public health and safety.  “Our U.S. sailors, port, shipyard, and manufacturing employees depend on the Great Lakes and its connecting waterways for the raw material supply chain to support good paying jobs and their families live here too.  Senator Stabenow’s work for over a decade has proved to be a game changer ensuring our fresh waters are restored and protected for generations to come,” stated Jim Weakley, Vice President of the Great Lakes Maritime Task Force and President of the Lake Carriers Association.

Senator Stabenow has been a critical champion for arguably the most important North American infrastructure project in several years with the construction of a large new U.S. Army Corps of Engineers navigational lock in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan.  Nearly all domestically produced high strength steel is made with iron ore that transits the current large lock, the Poe, built in 1969.  A study conducted by the Department of Homeland Security concluded that a six-month unscheduled outage of the Poe Lock would result in 11 million jobs lost and a $1.1 trillion economic impact.  Recognizing the vital national economic importance and the reality that it is an aging single point of failure for North American manufacturing, Senator Stabenow tirelessly advocated for funding authorization and continued efficient funding of the estimated $3.2 billion mega project securing large annual appropriations to keep the project on track.

The Great Lakes Maritime Task Force is grateful for Senator Stabenow’s service to our county, the Great Lakes Region, and the State of Michigan.  Senator Stabenow is truly a champion for the Great Lakes watershed and the healthy marine transportation system it supports.

The presentation of the award was made at Senator Stabenow’s Washington D.C. office surrounded by many thankful Great Lakes Maritime Task Force members.