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House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Passes Coast Guard Reauthorization

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed H.R. 2838, The Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2011 out of committee today. This legislation authorizes the Coast Guard to spend $8.49 billion for FY 2012, $8.6 billion for FY 2013, and $8.7 billion for FY 2014. Alaskan Congressman Don Young worked hard to ensure that several provisions important to Alaska were included in this legislation such as the Alaska delegation’s Maritime Lien Reform Act (H.R. 1210).

“This is a crucial bill for Alaska and I thank Chairman Mica for passing this important piece of legislation out of committee,” said Rep. Young. “With close to 44,000 miles of coastline, the Coast Guard plays a vital role in the everyday lives of countless Alaskans. That is why I am pleased the Committee supported several key Alaska provisions like the Maritime Lien Reform Act and the Jones Act Waiver for the Ship and Dry Dock in Ketchikan. This legislation gives the Coast Guard the resources they need to ensure our coastlines remain both safe and secure. I look forward to working with my colleagues in both parties to make sure this legislation passes the full House.”    

Provisions in H.R. 2838 beneficial to Alaska:

  • Requires a report from the Coast Guard on the need for an expanded presence in the Arctic region, including forward operating bases, shore infrastructure, personnel, logistics, communications, and affiliated resources requirements to support operations.
  • Includes Rep. Young’s bill, H.R. 1210, the Maritime Lien Reform Act which would prohibit the placement of maritime liens on fishing permits.
  • Includes Rep. Young’s bill, H.R. 563 which would grant a Jones Act Waiver for the Ketchikan Alaska Ship and Dry Dock. This waiver will ensure certainty to operations and expand capabilities in order to maximize economic returns to Ketchikan, the Southeast Alaska region, the state and the nation.
  • Jones Act Waiver for Ocean Veritas, which is a research vessel capable of doing work on reducing, and some day eliminating, the huge hydrographic survey backlog (ocean mapping and charting) that exists in the United States, a very large portion of which backlog exists in Alaska.
  • Requires the Coast Guard to prepare a prioritized list of projects eligible for environmental compliance and restoration funding including the Coast Guard’s Long Range Aids to Navigation (Loran-C) Station sites throughout Alaska.
  • The Coast Guard is required to prepare a report on the condition of Coast Guard servicemember housing including housing needs, assessment of the condition of the current housing inventory, and a prioritized list of housing maintenance and recapitalization projects. This is in response to numerous complaints regarding the condition of housing in Alaska due to the high winds and extreme conditions.

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