02.18.20

Baldwin to Prioritize Great Lakes Icebreaker After Trump’s Budget Does Not Include Funding

Baldwin: “Inadequate icebreaking capacity in the Great Lakes is costing us thousands of American jobs and millions in business revenue”

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin, Gary Peters (MI) and Debbie Stabenow (MI) reaffirmed their support for a new Great Lakes icebreaker. The Trump Administration recently released their proposed budget for FY 2021, which included no funding for a new icebreaker. Baldwin, Peters and Stabenow led a bipartisan effort urging the Administration to include adequate funding for the Coast Guard to acquire a new icebreaker for the Great Lakes.

“Inadequate icebreaking capacity in the Great Lakes is costing us thousands of American jobs and millions in business revenue,” said Senator Baldwin. “By refusing to fund another Great Lakes icebreaker, President Trump’s short-sighted budget proposal will hurt businesses that need to move their goods to market. For years, I’ve fought for funding for a second heavy icebreaker for the Great Lakes to keep our maritime commerce moving. I will keep working with my colleagues to get this job done for Wisconsin businesses and workers.”

“Businesses across Michigan depend on reliable shipping routes through the Great Lakes to help move their goods and materials year-round, and the Great Lakes are in desperate need of a new heavy icebreaker” said Senator Peters. “I’m disappointed that the Administration again failed to include the necessary funds to move this project forward. However, I’ll be working with my colleagues in a bipartisan manner to ensure that Congress prioritizes an icebreaker by appropriating the support needed to support Michigan’s ports, businesses and communities.”

The Coast Guard is required by law to maintain a heavy icebreaking capability on the Great Lakes to keep the region’s ports and harbors open and facilitate the free flow of economic commerce. In 2015 Congress authorized the Coast Guard to acquire a new Great Lakes icebreaker at least as capable as the heavy icebreaker the MACKINAW (WLBB-30), and has directed and provided funding for the Coast Guard to establish a major program acquisition office to support the design and procurement of a vessel. Yet to date, the Trump Administration has not requested funding for an additional Great Lakes icebreaker vessel in the annual budget submitted to Congress.