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Public Statements

Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2011

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. GENE GREEN of Texas. Mr. Chair, I rise in support of this bill and urge my colleagues to join me in supporting it.

The 29th District of Texas that I represent encompasses the Port of Houston--the largest foreign tonnage port in the country. It drives economic activity in region, and is home to one of the largest petro-chemical complexes in the world. Because of this, security on the waterway is critical, and the Coast Guard has been exceptional in providing that security.

The Coast Guard enforces the nation's laws in U.S. waters and on the high seas, and protects the lives and property of those at sea. The Coast Guard's missions include maritime search and rescue, illegal drug and migrant interdiction, oil spill prevention and response in the marine environment, marine safety, maintenance of aids to navigation, enforcement of U.S. fisheries, and other marine environmental laws, and maritime defense readiness.

I know this bill is not perfect, but I support it because it provides the Coast Guard with the resources they need to meet the security and environmental demands they are tasked with. The measure authorizes programs of the Coast Guard in FY 2012.

Passage of the bill will continue today's high levels of offshore safety, ensure important projects are not delayed, and will protect the lives and livelihood of those who live and work around American waterways, such as the Houston Ship Channel.

Mr. Chair, I again thank the Committee for their work on this bill and urge my colleagues to join me in supporting it.


Mr. GENE GREEN of Texas. Mr. Chair, I rise in support of the McCaul Amendment to the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act.

For over 75 years, the Jones Act allowed only one non-governmental organization, the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), a not-for-profit marine classification society located in my district in Houston, the authority to review and inspect U.S. flagged vessels on behalf of the U.S. Coast Guard.

In 1996, Congress expanded this authority to allow foreign-based classification societies to perform similar tasks.

Today, five foreign classification societies act as Agents of our government on behalf of the Coast Guard.

Unfortunately, four of these foreign organizations also act as Agents of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the review and inspection of Iranian flagged vessels.

These foreign-based classification societies also continue to have business interest with, and often operate within, other rogue nations and state sponsors of terrorism.

I support the McCaul Amendment, which would close this loophole in our laws and send a clear message to foreign-based classification societies that you must choose to work with the United States or work with state sponsors of terrorism, such as Iran.

I ask my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support the word and spirit of the Iranian sanctions regime that this Chamber has supported time and again, and vote in favor of this amendment.


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