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Rockefeller Says Coast Guard Plays Vital Role in West Virginia

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Senator Jay Rockefeller today said Senate passage of the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2012 will help secure the military branch's future in West Virginia. The legislation authorizes the U.S. Coast Guard's funding levels for fiscal years 2013 and 2014 and extends the Coast Guard's major acquisitions authorities, among other provisions.

"In West Virginia alone, the Coast Guard supports more than 1,000 personnel. The Coast Guard's Marine Safety Huntington operation is responsible for securing the Port of Huntington, our nation's largest Inland Waterways Port, as well as the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers," Rockefeller said. "In the Eastern Panhandle, the Coast Guard's Operations Systems Center, National Vessel Documentation Center, and National Maritime Center are providing critical information technology and services that support myriad Coast Guard's missions. I am so very proud of each of these high-performance, low-cost operations and committed to their continued success."

"We have come to expect the brave men and women of the Coast Guard to respond admirably and take the lead in responding to more and more large-scale maritime crises such as the earthquake in Haiti, the BP oil spill, and Hurricane Katrina," Rockefeller said. "The Coast Guard deploys and operates every day throughout our nation to protect our maritime interests, save lives, and guard our coasts, but with ever-strained resources. This bipartisan bill ensures the Coast Guard will have the necessary authority and funds to carry out its three overarching roles of maritime security, safety, and stewardship."

The Senate-amended version of the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2012, H.R. 2838, is now awaiting action in the House of Representatives. Key components of the bill will:

Authorize funding and personnel levels for the U.S. Coast Guard for fiscal years 2013 and 2014 and make a number of needed refinements to the statutory authorities of the Coast Guard.

Enhance the Coast Guard's major acquisitions authorities, extending current authority through 2015 for expedited hiring of major acquisitions experts to work on the Coast Guard's critical fleet recapitalization; authorize advance procurement authority for the purchase of new ship construction materials, parts, and components that have a long "lead time" for their manufacture or production; and enable the Coast Guard to enter into a multi-year contract for the procurement of additional National Security Cutters--the flagship of the Coast Guard's recapitalized surface fleet.

Refine the Coast Guard authorities relating to its ice operations mission, the most important of which would be to make the Coast Guard the sole provider of polar icebreaking services to agencies of the federal government. The bill will require the Coast Guard to maintain its current heavy polar icebreakers as part of its fleet.

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