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MINNEAPOLIS - As invasive species have crept up the Mississippi River, there has been increased discussion about closing the Upper St. Anthony lock. The Star Tribune editorial board recently advocated for this solution to the spread of invasive species.

The Upper Mississippi Waterway Association has serious concerns about this approach because it would negatively impact our economy at a time when we are working hard to keep every job we can. As you may know, shutting down the Upper St. Anthony lock would immediately eliminate 127 jobs and result in an annual loss of more than $40 million in wages and economic output.

Much like everyone else, we are concerned about the spread of invasive species. However, closing the lock at Upper St. Anthony Falls is not a guaranteed solution. There are ways to slow the spread of Asian carp without sacrificing the jobs and economic activity connected to river transportation. Before we make any transformational decisions, we need to understand the total impact of the decision, especially its impact on the economy.

Al Christopherson, chair of the UMWA board, shared his thoughts with the Star Tribune in a column titled “To close the lock is to pay a price.”  Additionally, Rick Calhoun, who is president of Cargo Carriers – a business of Cargill – also advocated for the river economy in a Star Tribune column titled “Transportation’s fourth R: Rivers.”

The Upper Mississippi Waterway Association continues to closely follow this issue to make sure our voices are heard and that people understand the economic importance of the Mississippi River.

Minnesota can’t afford to make the mistake of closing the Upper St. Anthony lock. Our economy depends on it.

Lock Closure Discussion Heats Up

UMWA weighs in on Mississippi River lock closure discussion

October 14, 2012