State news briefs: Toledo

Corps’ report a good starting point for Great Lakes

The Toledo Blade

Published on Aug. 15, 2017

The Army Corps of Engineers’ recommendation for keeping Asian carp out of the Great Lakes is not as aggressive as many had hoped. But it is a much-needed start to the discussion on protecting the lakes’ valuable fisheries.

The Corps’ 488-page study proposed creating a gauntlet for the carp near the Brandon Road Lock and Dam in Illinois. Carp would be deterred from entering the waterway by an underwater noise-making system. If they elude that, they would be shocked by an electrical barrier. Ships passing through the area would be blasted with water jets to shake loose any fish that might be catching a ride. The cost of the elaborate system would be about $275 million and could be in place by 2025.

It is a far cheaper proposal than the $18.4 billion plan preferred by most scientists. The more expensive plan would completely separate the Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds. A plan such as that would eliminate almost any chance for the carp to enter the Great Lakes, but it was aggressively campaigned against by the powerful shipping lobby.

It is disappointing that the shipping industry’s concerns held up the release of the report, which was supposed to be released by Feb. 28. The encroaching danger was hammered home when a silver carp that had escaped a barrier near Lake Michigan was caught by a fisherman.

“We are appreciative that the report is out. But this discussion is something we were supposed to be having in February,” Josh Stewart, communications director for Rep. Marcy Kaptur, told The Blade’s editorial board.

Miss Kaptur was instrumental in pressuring the administration for the report’s release. She rounded up a bipartisan coalition and introduced an amendment in June to an appropriations bill that would have forced President Trump to release the report. She withdrew the measure after Republican leadership assured her that it would work with her to get the report released.

Thankfully, the pressure appeared to work.

The Army Corps of Engineers’ plan can be amended and shaped through comments at public hearings and on the Corps’ website. Comments will be accepted through Sept. 21. It is time for those who have an interest to get involved, and that involves our local leaders.

“Now that we have real information on costs, we can move on and receive input from stakeholders, whose livelihoods depend on us keeping the Asian carp out of the lakes,” Miss Kaptur said in a statement.

The delay has been too long, and there is little time to waste. But this is a start.

Kaptur welcomes Cliffs to Port of Toledo

June 15, 2017

Will create jobs and bring $700 million in investment

Toledo – Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-09) is cheering news today that Cleveland-headquartered Cliffs Natural Resources (Cliffs) has selected the Port of Toledo and East Toledo’s Ironville site as a home for the company’s new Hot Briquette Iron processing facility. The project will bring 1,200 construction jobs, more than 130 permanent jobs, and a $700 million investment to the Toledo area. The company intends to break ground in early 2018, with the plant becoming operational in 2020.

“A big Toledo welcome to Cleveland-based Cliffs Natural Resources as it embarks on new corporate investment to serve the American steelmaking market,” said Kaptur. “When we set about to bring the Ironville site to economic reuse, we were driven by the potential for jobs in East Toledo. The confluence of a job ready site and Toledo’s excellent distribution and transportation network helped to put the Toledo Port site over the top, attracting major investment and the jobs that will come with it.”

When operational, the Cliffs Toledo facility will receive iron ore mined in Minnesota and Michigan and convert it to briquettes used in steel making. Kaptur discussed the investment with Cliffs CEO and Chairman, Lourenco Goncalves, and pledged her assistance with federal and state permitting.

Kaptur was instrumental in directing federal funds to help clean up and prepare the Ironville site for new development, all with the intention to create jobs and drive economic activity in the Toledo area.

“For many months, our region has been working toward and anticipating this potential major investment by Cliffs, one of the most respected and oldest firms in the Great Lakes, at 170 years. Not only will this create jobs, but it will include a multi-story tower that will change our skyline. Additionally, these jobs will be focused on transforming raw materials for use in the oil and gas industry, the auto sector, mill and pipe operations and the steel industry. As Co-Chair of the House Great Lakes Task Force, I congratulate the Port Authority of Toledo and I pledge to continue working with all parties involved through completion of construction and continuing necessary investments in Great Lakes infrastructure to allow this industry to flourish and expand,” Kaptur continued.

Kaptur is the Ranking Member of the House Energy and Water Subcommittee which has oversight over U.S. Department of Energy and Army Corps of Engineers funding and operations.

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