U.S. Representative Garamendi
Supports America’s Shipbuilders

 

May 2015

 

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U.S. Congressman John Garamendi (D-California), an ardent backer of the American maritime industry, recently called for expansion of U.S. shipbuilding.

 

Garamendi, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s Subcommittee on the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, spoke April 9 at the Bay Planning Coalition’s 2015 Decision Makers Conference in Oakland, California. He primarily focused on shipbuilding – a key component of U.S. national and economic security – but also touched on other maritime topics.

 

“We’re not building big ships in the United States except for the U.S. Navy. These are strategic national assets,” he said.

 

In addition, he voiced his support for the Jones Act and the Surface Transportation Act, which he said should be modeled after President Barack Obama’s GROW America Act. The representative also explained that he is always urging Congress to better support the U.S. Merchant Marine, through introducing new legislation and defending existing laws. He then spoke about the role in emerging export markets that the American- flag fleet should play.

 

“What if we recognized that the export of liquefied natural gas (LNG), when and where deemed appropriate, provides us with a unique opportunity to rebuild the American shipbuilding industry and strengthen our U.S. Merchant Marine,” he said. “When we export LNG, we need to make sure that the export of this natural asset is being conducted by American sailors on American ships. In doing so, we will revitalize America’s shipbuilding industry in a big way.”

 

Garamendi in December co-authored the Howard Coble Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014, which was signed into law. Within the legislation were requirements that the Department of Transportation encourage the maximum amount of LNG exporting on ships that are built, crewed and flagged American.

 

During his remarks in Oakland, the congressmen intimated that the road to revitalization undoubtedly would involve plenty of challenges. But, he stated, “We have an opportunity to make sure that a very significant part of the American economy has an opportunity to blossom and grow – not just the shipyards – but the entire supply chain: electronics, engines, and more.”

 

He concluded with a call for support of U.S. shipbuilding: “We’re going to build in America and make it in America....What I need from all of you is your interest and support in building the American shipbuilding industry. If any of you would like to join me in this effort, let me know.”

 

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