Letter: Michigan steel a vital industry

The Detroit News
The Canadian cutter Samuel Risley ties up in the Poe Lock in Sault Ste. Marie in this Wednesday, March 21, 2018 photo.

Michigan and the steel industry go hand in hand.  The steel industry here has developed innovative materials and manufacturing technologies that have led to the new advances in high-strength steel grades for cars and trucks, in addition to sustainable building construction, and energy transmission and development.

Michigan is also home to the Soo Locks, a strategic asset that is key to the competitiveness of the American steel industry. More than 75 million tons of cargo annually passes through the Soo Locks, including nearly all of the iron ore that is mined in the United States for use by the American steel industry. The Soo Locks are the only waterway connection from the iron range along Lake Superior to the lower Great Lakes and the Saint Lawrence Seaway, making it a critically important piece of federal infrastructure — especially for the steel industry and the industries that depend on it, including the automobile industry.

The American Iron and Steel Institute thanks Congressman John Moolenaar for his support of our industry and, especially, for his work to ensure that funding is secured for revitalizing the Soo Locks. Due in large part to the congressman’s leadership, the House Appropriations Committee supported the full 2020 funding level for the Soo Locks modernization effort. 

The Soo Locks are essential to commerce and national security.

The more than 115,000 of steel industry and related jobs in Michigan depend on the Soo Locks. We are grateful for Moolenaar’s support and urge the U.S. Senate to follow his lead and retain the funding to modernize this valuable resource.

Thomas J. Gibson, president and CEO

American Iron and Steel Institute