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The Great Lakes are the largest freshwater system on the Earth's surface, home to a fragile fishery, and delicate shoreline beaches and dunes. They are also central to northern Michigan tourism, economies and our way of life.

We’ve Got Issues: Mich. Congress members introduce Soo Locks bill

David Cassleman

A group of Michigan lawmakers has introduced legislation in Washington, D.C. to authorize building a new lock at Sault Ste. Marie. 

Supporters of the project say a new lock is needed as a backup for the Poe Lock. 

  A report from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in 2015 said that an extended shutdown of the Poe could send the nation into recession. Millions of tons of iron ore pass through the Poe Lock each year on the way to the steel mills that dot the Great Lakes region.

Passing the authorization bill would not guarantee the project happens. Congress has passed similar bills in the past 30 years, but has never committed the hundreds of millions of dollars it would take to build a new lock.  

Sen. Gary Peters, who co-sponsored the bill along with Rep. Jack Bergman and others, says the Soo Locks are the classic definition of strategic infrastructure: