Yesterday, President Obama introduced his bold plan to protect our kids’ health and begin to slow the effects of climate change so we leave a cleaner, more stable environment for future generations. I'm pleased to say that at DOT, we have been working hard to reduce carbon emissions from transportation and lessen transportation's reliance on oil.
From roadways and aviation to rail, transit, and maritime, that effort has been across all modes and ongoing.
Earlier this month, for example, Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC) Acting Administrator Craig Middlebrook attended the sixth Green Marine annual Green Tech Conference. Acting Administrator Middlebrook came home with something extra in his suitcase: certification of the SLSDC's environmental stewardship.
Green Marine was launched in 2007 and has been recognized in Canada and the United States as a vigorous and effective environmental sustainability program for the North American marine industry. The group sets a high standard for the marine industry to reduce its carbon footprint. Participants from both sides of the border include shipowners, ports, terminals, shipyards, and the U.S. and Canadian Seaway Corporations – all striving to improve the environmental performance of their operations.
One practice that sets Green Marine apart is its annual environmental audit of all participants and publication of the results at the Green Tech Conference. At Green Tech 2013, I'm happy to report, our Seaway team earned a strong score.
And they're not stopping there. Instead, they are working to do even better, to stay on the path of continuous improvement in the environmental impact of Seaway operations.
Green Tech 2013 was also a chance to highlight innovative technologies, and among those were new methods to prevent invasive species from entering the Great Lakes in ships’ ballast water.
Ships often take on ballast water in one part of the world and release it in another, sometimes introducing a species to a new body of water in the process. This can have disastrous consequences for the new environment and has been a particular concern in the Great Lakes.
Over the past several years, the largest international carrier using the Seaway has worked closely with the Maritime Environmental Resource Center in Maryland --funded in part by DOT's Maritime Administration-- and the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research at the University of Windsor to develop a new treatment for ballast water. The results of that effort, which included several shipboard tests on actual voyages, were released at Green Tech 2013, and they appear to be very promising.
Green Tech 2013 demonstrated how best practices, new technologies, and insightful partnerships can make a difference in the environmental quality of our waterways. It's great to see the SLSDC team helping to lead that effort. Congratulations to them for pursuing their commitment to a greener Saint Lawrence Seaway every day.