Issues & Advocacy

Maintain Reliability of Navigation

America’s waterways are vital links for the safe, reliable and efficient movement of freight. Every year, barges safely and efficiently carry almost 800 million tons of cargo, including the building blocks of the U.S. economy such as grain, petroleum, coal and chemicals. However, efforts to prevent the spread of invasive species, including Asian carp, have the potential to impact both the ecosystem and economy by disrupting these vital transportation links.

For more than a decade, the tugboat, towboat and barge industry has worked in partnership with key federal agencies and stakeholder groups to develop long-term solutions to prevent the spread of invasive species while maintaining the uninterrupted flow of commercial navigation.

Interruptions to commerce will adversely impact the billions of dollars of products transported on the waterways—not to mention the thousands of Americans, from Indiana and Illinois to Louisiana and Pennsylvania, who depend on the waterways for their jobs and livelihoods. Disruption of these systems could shift bulk commodities to less fuel- and cost-efficient transportation modes. Modal shifts cost money—not only for the American producers and businesses that rely on barge transportation, but for the American consumers who will feel the pinch in their grocery and energy bills. The nation would also face increased road infrastructure costs, air pollution, and traffic fatalities.

AWO is committed to working with other stakeholders and the Congressional committees of jurisdiction on legislative proposals  to develop the most effective and workable long-term invasive species management policies for the waterways. Such proposals must also be consistent with the improved processes for the study, approval and funding of waterway infrastructure projects enacted in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014.

Because of the unique contributions of the waterways to our regional and national economies, AWO urges Congress to ensure that policies under consideration for invasive species management maintain the uninterrupted flow of commercial navigation and uphold the important process reforms of WRRDA 2014.