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Public Statements

Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. YOUNG of Alaska. At this time, I would like to engage the distinguished chairman in a colloquy regarding the Polar Sea, the Coast Guard's second heavy icebreaker. It has been decommissioned and will soon be put in dry dock to prepare it for scrapping. However, I believe that before the resale of the Polar Sea is significantly reduced by removing its propellers and shafts that the Coast Guard must consider another option.

To date, the Coast Guard has not yet officially surveyed the private sector for interest in the Polar Sea in its current condition. Private sector interest in the Polar Sea may increase after the summer's Arctic drilling season, when permitted drilling is expected to be shortened due to heavier than usual ice.

My good friend from Washington (Mr. Dicks) and I are offering this colloquy to delay the scrapping. Our goal is to specifically instruct the Coast Guard to provide a survey of whether or not there is a better use for this vessel.

I was prepared to offer an amendment today that would direct the Coast Guard to report back to Congress on the condition of the Polar Sea, the costs associated with reactivating the vessel for service, and the interest of private or public entities in purchasing and operating the Polar Sea.

This amendment would have prevented the Coast Guard from moving any major equipment or systems from the Polar Sea until the Coast Guard submitted its report to Congress. Unfortunately, this amendment is subject to a point of order, but I would ask the chairman for his support and commitment to work with me and Mr. Dicks on this important issue as we pursue an alternative legislative fix in the Transportation Committee. Time is of the essence.

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