Stefanik co-introduces bill to include St. Lawrence River in impact studies
Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) and Congressman Joe Morelle (D-N.Y.) have introduced the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes Waterways Protection Act, bipartisan legislation to ensure that the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) includes studying the impact of oil spills in the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes waterways as well as best practices for responding to any spill that may occur in freshwater environments.
Currently, the St. Lawrence River is not included in the scope of the U.S. Coast Guard’s National Center of Expertise for Great Lakes Oil Spill Preparedness and Response.“The St. Lawrence River is a keystone of the North Country and serves as the integral access point for shipping to enter the Great Lakes,” Stefanik said. “This bill is a critical step forward to ensure the continued protection of the St. Lawrence as part of the Coast Guard’s important work. I am proud to introduce legislation that will protect and preserve our river communities.”
"Speaking for the fifty mile stretch of the St. Lawrence River shoreline that I represent on the St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators, I would certainly advocate for and support the inclusion of all waterways and rivers that empty into the greater Great Lakes system via the St. Lawrence River. An all-encompassing scope would enhance the efforts to examine the impacts of current and potential issues as well as identifying the best way of dealing with them," said Joe Lightfoot, St. Lawrence County Legislator, District 3.
The Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018 included a provision that created the USCG Great Lakes National Center of Expertise (CoE) for Oil Spill Preparedness and Response. The purpose of the CoE is to examine the impacts of oil spills in freshwater environments and help develop effective responses to spills in the Great Lakes, but did not include the St. Lawrence River in the scope of the CoE’s definition of “Great Lakes.”