opinion

Letters: Steel critical to national security

Aa

I’m writing in response to “Domestic steel wants lasting fix from Trump tariffs,” Sept. 6. Though I fully agree the local economic impact highlighted in the story is important, as a Commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve, the issue of U.S. steel production is also of critical importance for our national security.

Maintaining a functioning, robust domestic steel industry ensures the United States has access to steel when it really counts. If we allow China and Russia to sell steel to American companies at artificially low prices, our local steel industry will not be able to maintain the capacity necessary to continue producing. Without local steel production, our country risks being at a perilous national security deficit.

Consider this: at the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military needed armor plates to protect troops against heavy IED attacks. To meet the need, it was necessary for U.S. steelmakers to halt their regular production to make enough plates to protect 1,300 vehicles per month.

I do not discount the impact of steel manufacturing for local workers and manufacturers. As we consider the need for action on Chinese and Russian steel, I believe we must also consider the larger context of ensuring American safety.

George Degener

U.S. Naval Reserve Commander

Boating industry boosts state

While many immediately think of Michigan as a hub for auto manufacturing, it’s important to remember another industry with significant impact: recreational boating. This industry employs nearly 40,000 residents, supports over 1,400 Michigan businesses, and has a total economic footprint in Michigan of $7.4 billion – manufacturing boating products.

Unfortunately, the vital economic impact the industry has in Michigan, and across the country, is being undermined by misguided marine fisheries management. Since 1976 the recreational fishing industry has been regulated by the Magnuson-Stevens Act. This well-intentioned legislation regulates recreational fishing with the same management tools as commercial fishing. As a result, American anglers have restricted access to fisheries, and by extension, their recreational boating is also limited. While this legislation doesn’t directly impact recreational fishing in Michigan, it hamstrings boat manufacturing in the state and jeopardizes jobs that are critical to tens of thousands of Michigan workers.

The “Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2017” has been introduced in Congress to update the regulatory framework currently crippling recreational fishing, boating, and the businesses they support. To preserve the massive economic value recreational boating creates in Michigan, Congressional leaders must support this legislation.

Thom Dammrich

president, National Marine

Manufacturers Association

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