Door County, Kewaunee County and Northeast Wisconsin would benefit greatly from a new U.S. Coast Guard Great Lakes icebreaker. The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee approved a bill this week authorizing a new Mackinac-class ice cutter for the Great Lakes. James Weakley, President of the Lake Carriers Association, says area shipyards, utilities and manufacturers rely on icebreakers to bring in supplies during the winter. He adds last winter's conditions took a toll on the current cutter fleet.
The Sturgeon Bay-based cutter Mobile Bay was also out of service last winter while undergoing life-extension renovation on the East Coast. Weakley says a new icebreaker could also mean new business for area shipyards.
The authorization bill for the new Great Lakes icebreaker is expected to go before the full Senate after the August recess.