House approves Coast Guard authorization bill

The following is the text of a news report from The Ripon Advance:

(WASHINGTON) — The House of Representatives approved legislation on Tuesday that would authorize U.S. Coast Guard operations for fiscal years 2015 and 2016.

House Homeland Security Committee Vice Chairwoman Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich., said passage of the Howard Coble Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act is necessary to ensure the Coast Guard’s continued role in national security and maritime industry.

“This legislation is a necessary step to ensure that they have the resources to support their continued mission and can replace and/or modernize aging assets,” Miller, the chairwoman of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, said. “We must now work with our appropriators and counterparts in the Senate.”

The legislation would authorize replacement and modernization of aging Coast Guard assets and implement fewer regulations that hinder U.S. maritime transportation competitiveness.

Under the measure, the Cost Guard would be prohibited from imposing new regulations on small businesses that operate on isolated waters where the Coast Guard does not have a presence, unless advance notification is made and public comments are heard.

Owners of fishing vessels and small commercial vessels would be exempt from having to obtain an EPA permit to discharge substances like rainwater runoff, air conditioner condensate and bilge water from their vessels under the bill.

“For over two centuries, the brave servicemen and women serving in the Coast Guard have protected our maritime interests, which is why it is so important that we ensure they have the resources they need to do their job,” Miller said. “I am pleased with the House passage of this important authorization and pledge to continue to fight to protect their safety and operational capabilities.”

By Professional Mariner Staff