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 LevinCarl LevinThe Fed and a return to banking simplicity What Our presidential candidates can learn from Elmo Zumwalt Will there be a 50-50 Senate next year? MORE (Mich.), Debbie StabenowDebbie StabenowGreat Lakes senators seek boost for maritime system Podesta floated Bill Gates, Bloomberg as possible Clinton VPs Dems to McConnell: Pass 'clean' extension of Iran sanctions MORE (Mich.), Charles SchumerCharles SchumerImmigration was barely covered in the debates GOP leaders advise members to proceed with caution on Trump Senate Dems demand answers from Wells Fargo over treatment of military MORE (N.Y.), Al FrankenAl FrankenGreat Lakes senators seek boost for maritime system Court ruling could be game changer for Dems in Nevada Why Yahoo's breach could turn the SEC into a cybersecurity tiger MORE (Minn.), Sherrod BrownSherrod BrownLobbying World Podesta floated Bill Gates, Bloomberg as possible Clinton VPs Peck Madigan Jones hires Obama, Clinton White House alum MORE (Ohio) and Senate Majority Whip Dick DurbinDick DurbinGreat Lakes senators seek boost for maritime system Wikileaks: Durbin pushed unknown Warren for Obama bank regulator The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (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.