Reps. Garamendi, Hunter Advocate
‘Growing American Shipping Act’

 

September 2014

 

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Two champions of the U.S. Merchant Marine once again have stepped up to promote the industry.

 

In late July, one week before Congress’ August recess, U.S. Rep. John Garamendi (D-California), ranking member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee, introduced H.R. 5270, the Growing American Shipping Act, to strengthen the U.S. maritime industry. Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-California) joined the legislation as an original cosponsor.

 

Existing law, written before the natural gas boom when it was thought America would be a liquefied natural gas (LNG) importer, authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to develop and implement a program to promote transportation of imported LNG on U.S.-flag vessels. Under the Deepwater Ports Act, the Secretary is also required to give top priority to the processing of licenses for LNG import facilities that will utilize U.S.-flag vessels.

 

The bill introduced July 30 would modernize these laws, ensuring that America’s commitment to its maritime industry is maintained as export opportunities are considered. It would authorize the administration to facilitate a program promoting the export of LNG on U.S.-flag vessels. It also would ensure priority processing of export applications for port terminals that would utilize U.S.-flag vessels.

 

Garamendi said, “In order for businesses to grow, they must identify new opportunities and seize them. The export market for LNG, a strategic national asset, is ready to take off. At the same time, our nation’s maritime industry has been declining for years. Our nation must take the bull by the horns. When it is deemed appropriate to export LNG, it should be on American-flagged vessels.”

 

Hunter stated, “A strong U.S. maritime industry is essential to the national economy and global security. This legislation will help strengthen this industry by promoting LNG export opportunities on U.S. flag vessels — which is most certainly in the national interest.”


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