Bill to boost Great Lakes shipping and improve Duluth Harbor Maintenance clears U.S House, moves to Senate

By KBJR News 1

Bill to boost Great Lakes shipping and improve Duluth Harbor Maintenance clears U.S House, moves to Senate

May 21, 2014 Updated May 21, 2014 at 1:47 PM CST

Washington D.C (NNCNOW.com) – In a 412 to 4 vote, the U.S. House passed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act or WRRDA, a bill aimed at allowing Great Lakes ships to take on more cargo and protecting Minnesota waterways from the threat of invasive species.

Congressman Nolan added an amendment that was included in the final version of the WRRDA.

The Senate is expected to approve the measure, before heading to President Obama for signing.

The bill focuses on the use of the nation's waterways, and includes a wide range of water–related construction, maintenance, and environmental improvement projects.

According to the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, iron ore and coal account for 80% of cargo – with total shipments in and out of the Port of Duluth–Superior supporting 11,500 jobs, $545 million in wages, and $1.5 billion in business revenue.

Also included in the bill are two Nolan amendments to help halt the spread of Asian carp.

"My first amendment protects the Minnesota Mississippi watershed and northern Minnesota lakes, rivers, and streams – and ultimately the Great Lakes – from invasive carp by closing the St. Anthony Lock and Dam in Minneapolis. The St. Anthony Lock and Dam is the only real barrier left to these fish that destroy native species by consuming their food and taking over their habitat," said Nolan.

"My second amendment redefines 'invasive species' to include animals well as plants. It provides the Army Corps of Engineers with tools for research and abatement of zebra mussels and other species that threaten the Great Lakes, the Mississippi watershed, and waterways throughout our nation," Nolan added.

The U.S. Senate is expected to take up the bill in the coming days.

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