WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWTI) — New legislation will aim to further protect the Str. Lawrence River from oil spills.

On March 29 Congress passed the Don Young U.S. Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2022, which authorizes appropriations for the Coast Guard and included a provision to focus specifically on the St. Lawrence River.

This is following a push from local lawmakers in Northern New York urging that the St. Lawrence River be included in oil spill preparedness efforts.

At the time the legislation was passed, the St. Lawrence River remained excluded from the scope of the U.S. Coast Guard’s National Center of Expertise for Great Lakes Oil Spill Preparedness and Response, which examines the impacts of oil spills in freshwater environments.

However, according to lawmakers, the new provision in the U.S. Coast Guard Authorization Act requires the U.S. Coast Guard to study the impact of oil spills in the St. Lawrence River and other Great Lakes waterways to develop best response practices.

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik commented on the passing of the act and how it will better protect the St. Lawrence River.

“I am proud to protect the ecosystem of the St. Lawrence River and preserve its role as an integral access point to the Great Lakes,” Rep. Stefanik said in a press release. “When I saw the St. Lawrence River was left out of the scope of the U.S. Coast Guard’s critical work, I took bipartisan action to preserve and protect our river communities against oil spills by supporting the research and response. Today, following my advocacy, we are one step closer to this critical provision becoming law.”

Full text of the Don Young U.S. Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2022 can be read on the U.S. Congress website.