Duffy, others in House aim to secure second Great Lakes icebreaker

U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI), co-chair of the Great Lakes Task Force, sent a request late last week to the House Appropriations Committee, requesting that previously authorized funds for a U.S.-made icebreaker be included in appropriations legislation for fiscal year 2016.

The letter was also signed by U.S. Reps. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Candice Miller (R-MI).

“It is troubling that the United States has only one icebreaker operating in the Great Lakes capable of initially breaking the extremely heavy ice seen in recent years,” the letter said. “The Coast Guard argues, “Maintaining a reliable Great Lakes heavy icebreaking capability is essential.’ Icebreakers provide multi-mission capabilities, such as supporting commerce by keeping open shipping lanes and conducting search-and-rescue missions to keep ships and their crews safe.”

In May, the House passed the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015, which authorizes funding for fiscal 2016 and 2017 for this purpose.

“While the Senate has not acted, we feel that the overwhelming support for this legislation merits funding for this critical national security asset,” the letter said.