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Government & Politics

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown Says The Army Corps Is Irresponsible in Cleveland's Dredging Dispute

Army Corps dredging the Cuyahoga River
PORT OF CLEVELAND

The Army Corps of Engineers has not dredged the Cuyahoga River in a year – a big change from previous years. WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia has more on why both of Ohio’s senators -- and the Ohio EPA -- say sediment needs to be removed from the shipping channel right away.

The senators say ships on the Cuyahoga River can travel through more easily – and with heavier loads – when sediment is dredged on a regular basis. But the corps is embroiled in a lawsuit over whether they can dump dredged material into Lake Erie. The Ohio EPA says the sediment is toxic and should be stored in a containment area on land.

Brown says about 18,000 industrial jobs in Cleveland rely on river freight.

“I’ve talked to ArcelorMittal last week about [the fact that] the failure to dredge could mean lost jobs. I’m meeting with the Army Corps of Engineers and demanding that they’ve got to do their jobs. This is the first season in 84 years where there may not be dredging on the river and that is absolutely unacceptable.

“The Army Corps has not been reasonable in this. I have two obligations here: one is to make the waterway accessible for boats bringing in iron ore and boats shipping out steel. And second, equally important, is that this lake stay clean.”

Both Brown and Sen. Portman sent a letter this week outlining their concerns. The corps last dredged the river in September, 2015.