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US marine hearing highlights bipartisan GAS Act

LNG Industry,

A congressional hearing on the status of the US merchant marine has highlighted the bipartisan Growing American Shipping (GAS) Act.

Chairman Duncan Hunter and John Garamendi held a hearing of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s Subcommittee on the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation on ‘The status of the Merchant Marine’.

The hearing focused attention on H.R. 5270, the bipartisan Growing American Shipping Act (GAS Act), which would promote the export of LNG on US-flag vessels. Witnesses at the hearing voiced support for the legislation and efforts to increase the use of US flag ships in the foreign trade.

‘Terrific opportunity’

Speaking at the hearing, Garamendi said: “The US maritime industry has been knocked down by decades of neglect by policymakers, but it is getting back up and is poised to take off. We’ve beaten back attempts to weaken the Jones Act. For the first time ever, the Maritime Administration and stakeholders are crafting a National Maritime Strategy.

“Now, looming on the horizon is a terrific opportunity: when and where we export LNG, let’s do so responsibly on American ships. The bipartisan GAS Act makes clear that we want LNG exports to be on US-flagged ships and create American jobs. Today’s hearing was a major step forward. I will continue to work with businesses, labour, and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to bring this bill up for a vote.”

GAS Act support

During the hearing, the President of the Shipbuilders Council of America voiced support for the GAS Act, saying that the bill would provide a valuable signal to the industry that would encourage the development and construction of advanced LNG ships in the US.

The President of Masters, Mates, and Pilots, a major maritime union, in written testimony expressed strong support for the legislation, saying that “export of LNG offers an opportunity for the United States merchant marine to expand and to create significant new job opportunities for American mariners.”

While they are still reviewing the legislation, Mark Tabbutt of the American Maritime Partnership, and Neils Johnsen, of USA Maritime, both expressed support for efforts to encourage the use of American ships.

H.R. 5270

This bill would:

  • Authorise the Secretary of Transportation to develop and implement a program to promote the export of LNG on US-flag vessels.
  • Require the Secretary to give priority processing of export applications for deepwater port terminals that would use US-flag vessels.

Adapted from press release by Katie Woodward

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