In A Win for the Great Lakes Region, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Successfully Secures Authorization for Additional Great Lakes Ice Breaker

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin successfully secured authorization for an additional Coast Guard icebreaker for the Great Lakes in the fiscal year 2020 Coast Guard Reauthorization legislation that passed out of the Senate Commerce Committee today with strong bipartisan support. The legislation will now head to the full Senate for a vote.

“In the Great Lakes, inadequate icebreaking capacity is costing us thousands of American jobs and millions in U.S. revenue,” said Senator Baldwin. “We need to take action with an additional Coast Guard icebreaker to protect our Great Lakes and keep our Made in Wisconsin economy moving forward, and I’m proud to see my colleagues on both sides of the aisle joined me in that effort today.”

Vessel delays caused by the 2018-2019 ice season resulted in the loss of 5,421 jobs that are dependent upon the U.S. fleet's ability to deliver cargo throughout the Great Lakes Region. Businesses that depend upon the region's maritime industry lost over $1 billion in revenues because of delays caused by inadequate icebreaking. Due to the lost business revenue, the federal government lost over $125 million in taxes in addition to the $46 million lost by state and local governments.

Baldwin’s amendment would officially authorize the Coast Guard to procure an additional icebreaker and help the Coast Guard move forward with implementation of its acquisition plans so that the Great Lakes and the American economy will no longer suffer due to inadequate icebreaking capability. According to the Lake Carriers Association, inadequate icebreaking on the Great Lakes this past winter cost the U.S. economy over $1 billion and over 5,000 jobs.