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Sen. Gary Peters: Shut down Enbridge Line 5, upgrade Soo Locks

Steve Carmody

With so much happening around Michigan and in Washington D.C., Stateside invited U.S. Sen. Gary Peters to stop by to explain what's important to him and to Michigan right now. The Senator has a number of legislative items he's working on for the state and for the Great Lakes, but he also took the time to talk about former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony and President Trump’s tweets.

One piece of legislation Sen. Peters is sponsoring is construction of a larger lock at the series of locks at Sault Ste. Marie. There are four locks that make up the Soo Locks and they make it possible for ships to pass through a body of water when there's a change of elevation. The biggest one, the Poe Lock, is the only one that allows the biggest of those ships to pass through. According to Peters, if it falls into disrepair and needs to be shut down, it could have a major impact on the national economy, and could even cause a recession.

"It has been categorized by many people as the Achilles heel of manufacturing in North America," Peters said. "Because if you don't have that raw material coming through, you can't make steel, and if you can't make steel, you don't make cars, you don't make appliances, and just go on down the list."

The Trump administration budget for next year calls for the complete elimination of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and cuts the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). There are also calls for cuts to the Coast Guard to help pay for Trump's proposed wall across the U.S.-Mexico border.

"It makes, I guess, a good campaign slogan, you can get an applause line at a rally, but [the border wall is] not the most efficient way to keep our borders safe, which we do have to do, but we can be more thoughtful about it," Peters said. "Cuts to the Coast Guard in order to pay for a wall, and I have to remind the Trump administration we have more water borders than we do land borders, if you cut the Coast Guard, that's part of homeland security, it's part of border protection."

Senator Peters also talked about former FBI Director James Comey's testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee. He called it "very troubling" and said that Trump's behavior was "unprofessional" and "may have crossed the line" when it comes to obstruction of justice. 

"I don't think anyone could feel good about the President after hearing that testimony, and particularly hearing the director of the FBI basically saying that he didn't trust the President and thought he would lie about whatever happened," Peters said.

Listen to the full interview above to hear about what Congress can do about Enbridge pipeline, Line 5, which goes through the Straits of Mackinac, the state of the auto industry and the future of autonomous vehicles, and operating in Washington D.C. during the Trump administration. 

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