Pro-maritime legislation strongly backed by the SIU has been reintroduced in both the House and Senate.
On March 11, U.S. Rep. John Garamendi (D-California) and U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) and Robert Casey (D-Pennsylvania) reintroduced the Energizing American Shipbuilding Act. This bipartisan and bicameral legislation would recapitalize America’s strategic domestic shipbuilding and maritime industries by requiring that increasing percentages of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and crude oil exports be transported on American-built vessels with U.S. crews sailing under the American flag.
According to Garamendi’s office, without passage of this bill “all U.S. exports of LNG and crude oil will continue to be on foreign vessels.”
House original cosponsors include Reps. Rob Wittman (R-Virginia), Julia Brownley (D-California), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pennsylvania), Alan Lowenthal (D-California), Chris Pappas (D-New Hampshire) and Elaine Luria (D-Virginia).
The Energizing American Shipbuilding Act would require that 15 percent of total seaborne LNG exports by 2043 and 10 percent of total seaborne crude oil exports by 2035 be transported exclusively on vessels built in the United States. If enacted, the bill will support Garamendi’s “Make it in America” agenda and spur the construction of dozens of ships, support thousands of new, good-paying jobs in American shipyards, and provide a boost to the domestic vessel component manufacturing and maritime industries, the congressman stated. According to an estimate from the Shipbuilders Council of America, the Garamendi bill would result in the construction of more than 40 ships: approximately 28 LNG carriers by 2043 and 12 oil tankers by 2035.
“U.S. exports of America’s LNG and crude oil resources present a unique opportunity to create new middle-class jobs by strengthening our nation’s crucial domestic shipbuilding, advanced manufacturing, and maritime industries – which are key to national security and our ability to project American military power abroad,” said Garamendi. “American shipyards and mariners are ready for the job, and our bill ensures American workers are no longer expected to compete against heavily subsidized foreign shipyards in Korea, China, and elsewhere. Our domestic maritime industry is critically important to the U.S. economy and our national security, and I will work tirelessly until this bill becomes law.”
“Strengthening our domestic maritime industry is essential to our national defense,” said Wicker. “Ensuring the U.S. can move our growing energy exports on American- flagged, American-crewed vessels protects the critical role these vessels play in our national defense and bolsters hundreds of thousands of American shipbuilding and maritime jobs. As foreign nations continue to invest heavily in their own shipbuilding capacity, the United States cannot allow our own capabilities to dwindle.”
“America’s merchant fleet has dwindled 60 percent since 1991,” Casey stated. “Requiring LNG and oil to be exported on U.S.-built and crewed vessels will help strengthen our nation’s shipyards and maritime industry and keep America competitive in international markets. The bipartisan Energizing American Shipbuilding Act would also create good-paying jobs for our ports in Pennsylvania, and throughout the country, while increasing ship manufacturing to ensure that we can provide sealift capacity for our military.”
Garamendi served as the top Democrat on the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation from 2013 to 2018, and has sponsored this legislation since 2016 as part of his Make it in America agenda.