By Zack Colman - 07/24/13 12:40 PM EDT
“This year, Great Lakes water levels reached new historic lows severely hampering commercial shipping, jeopardizing recreational boating and fishing, devastating the tourism industry, threatening electric power generation, compromising water supply infrastructure, and exacerbating problems caused by invasive species,” the senators wrote to Obama on Tuesday.
The signatories were Sens. Carl Levin (Mich.), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), Charles Schumer (N.Y.), Al Franken (Minn.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.).
The senators stressed that shallower lakes would disrupt the roughly 160 million tons of cargo that travel through the Great Lakes each year.
“If low water levels persist, harbors will continue to close and vessels will continue to light load, reducing our global competitiveness. Addressing the impacts of climate change on the Great Lakes region is essential for ensuring the long-term health, safety, and prosperity of our country,” they said.
Obama didn't mention the Great Lakes in the climate plan he released earlier this year. As the administration moves forward, the senators said it should "fully incorporate the risks and impacts to the Great Lakes."
Read the full letter here.