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Providing for Consideration of H.R. 2838, Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2011

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. LoBIONDO. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in very strong support of the rule which provides for consideration of H.R. 2838, the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2011. The bill will reauthorize the activities of the Coast Guard through fiscal year 2014. It includes critical provisions that will give the Coast Guard, its servicemembers, and dependents greater parity--something that is extremely important--with their counterparts in the Department of Defense.

It includes language which will reform and improve Coast Guard administration and, very importantly, will save taxpayer dollars without impacting the service's critical missions. The bill also amends shipping laws to improve safety and foster job growth throughout the maritime sector.

The bill also establishes a uniform national standard for the discharge of ballast water that is based on the most recent effective technology that is currently available. The standard also must be updated on a regular basis as technology improves. Under current law, the Coast Guard and EPA regulate ballast water, while every State and tribe is allowed to add their own requirements to these regulations. As a result, ships engaged in interstate and international commerce must comply with two Federal standards and 29 different State and tribal standards for water ballast release, many of which are contradictory and technologically unachievable. It's an impossible regulatory nightmare that threatens jobs and the economy.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to insert into the Record a letter of support signed by 28 organizations representing the U.S. flag industry, our ports, farmers, steel manufacturers, the largest maritime unions in the country, and others.

I urge all Members to support the rule and the underlying bill.


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