Traverse City Record-Eagle


June 29, 2014

George Weeks: Levin, Stabenow tout Great Lakes sanctuaries

Michigan’s top three statewide officeholders have a solid record in bipartisan national politics of working with neighboring states on Great Lakes issues.

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, like his predecessors of both parties, has worked with other governors on pollution, invasive species, water diversion and other issues. Likewise, Democratic Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow have collaborated with such Republicans as 4th District Rep. Dave Camp of Midland on Great Lakes issues.

Last week, Levin, co-chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, and Stabenow, a vice chair of the group, joined colleagues from Ohio, Minnesota and Wisconsin in introducing legislation requiring a federal assessment of Great Lakes waters with “significant cultural, historic or archaeological value for possible preservation as federal marine sanctuaries.”

That’s hardly an issue as critical, for example, as the threat of Asian carp, where federal action has been slow. But scientific, cultural and economic benefits are at play on sanctuaries.

The Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Assessment Act would direct the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to submit to Congress recommendations on possible Great Lakes sanctuaries. Currently, the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary on Lake Huron near Alpena, which protects scores of historic shipwrecks, is the nation’s only freshwater federal sanctuary. (There are 13 protected in salt waters.)

There’s enormous potential in lakes Superior and Michigan. Said Levin:

“Thunder Bay has had enormous scientific, cultural and economic benefits for Alpena and Northeast Michigan. We should build on that success, potentially with a network of protected sites that bring the historic and significance of our Great Lakes heritage to life. Our legislation would require a comprehensive assessment of possible sites, an assessment developed in close cooperation with local Great Lakes communities.”

Stabenow said: “Michigan’s historic Great Lakes shipwrecks draw families and divers from across the state and throughout the world to discover and explore our rich maritime heritage.”

Text Only

Opinion Poll
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow