The Obama administration's proposal to trim the Great Lakes dredging budget by 32 percent in fiscal year 2012 has the Great Lakes shipping industry declaring a "state of emergency."
Specifically, the White House's proposed appropriation for lakes dredging next year will remove the smallest amount of sediment since the Army Corps of Engineers started keeping records more than a half-century ago, the Great Lakes Maritime Task Force noted. As a result, only 11 of the 83 U.S Great Lakes ports will be dredged.
"Never in my 51 years in this industry have I seen such a total abandonment of the federal government's responsibility to maintain the Great Lakes navigation system," said John D. Baker, the task force's president. "Cargo movement on the Fourth Sea Coast can top 200 million tons per year, yet the federal government is turning its back on us," he said. " What was a dredging crisis is now a state of emergency for each of the eight Great Lakes states."
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