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Public Statements

Millie Lacs Lake Freedom to Fish Act of 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. LARSEN of Washington. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself as much time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, H.R. 5797 exempts the owners and operators of small passenger vessels operating on Mille Lacs
Lake in central Minnesota from U.S. Coast Guard licensing and inspection requirements.
This bill provides rather narrow regulatory relief. However, because this bill was rushed to legislation, to markup without first having a hearing on the bill itself or having the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime
Transportation consider the specific bill, no one can say for sure what consequences might arise in the future. My concerns are somewhat allayed by learning the State of Minnesota has an adequate program to regulate vessels operating on its inland lakes, including Mille Lacs.

Nonetheless, the Coast Guard has expressed concerns that the limitations imposed on its vessel safety authorities by this bill could create uncertainty and some confusion among the boating public, especially regarding marine casualty investigations and maritime liability.

Notwithstanding these objections, and because the bill, as reported, would no longer vacate the Coast Guard's 2010 determination that Mille Lacs Lake is navigable, I do not object to the bill moving forward today.

With that, I yield back the balance of my time.

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