Congressman Bob Gibbs, Chairman of the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee, released the following statement following passage of H.R. 2838, The "Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2011." Gibbs assisted in crafting Title VII, the "Commercial Vessel Discharges Reform Act of 2011" portion of the legislation.
"I applaud the passage of HR 2838, a fiscally responsible reauthorization of the U.S. Coast Guard that will protect maritime industry jobs threatened by the current burdensome ballast water treatment regulations, improve the safety and efficiency of the maritime transportation system, and promote the flow of maritime commerce.
"Promoting maritime commerce is especially important to us here locally as the Port of Cleveland handles an average of 13.1 million tons of cargo per year and provides 11,000 Ohio jobs. We must protect our local interstate and foreign commerce industry from unnecessary, burdensome and sometimes impossible to attain requirements that inhibit the flow of maritime commerce.
"This legislation will immediately put in place a uniform, achievable nationwide standard for vessel ballast water treatment, resolving the current patchwork of varying and inconsistent ballast water regulations across states. This approach is endorsed by the EPA, the Coast Guard, the National Academy of Sciences, the EPA's Science Advisory Board, maritime labor, manufacturers, farmers, energy producers and our largest and most strategic international trading partners."