US Representative John Garamendi has said that the expanding natural gas industry in North America is creating substantial opportunities to boost US shipbuilding and the US Merchant Marine.
Garamendi, who is the ranking member of the House Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee, told an audience in Washington, D.C., that up to 100 new ships could be required for natural gas exports from half a dozen US ports.
“If we’re going to export LNG, then it must be done on American-made ships with American mariners”, Garamendi said. The congressman said he believes public policy neglect has harmed the American maritime industry, but “public policy can drive a resurgence.”
He pointed to natural gas, including LNG, as “a huge opportunity” for the maritime industry and described it as one of the nation’s strategic resources.
Another such resource, Garamendi added, is the shipbuilding industry. He called it “a fundamental asset – a fundamental strategic part of our nation – from the very beginnings even before we were a nation […] However, today we are on a trajectory to lose the ability to [build] ships.”
Garamendi explained that without orders from the US Navy, the industry “is gone. But, by combining two of the strategic resources this nation still has – natural gas and shipbuilders – we can rebuild and strengthen and keep the American maritime industry in relatively better shape.”
This can be achieved through strong political partnerships involving all components of the respective industries, according to the congressman. “You say it is in the strategic national security interests of this nation to have a shipbuilding industry – for the US Navy, for the Coast Guard, and for jobs in America. It is a national security issue. You combine that with the strategic asset of natural gas […] We’ve got to work together to make this happen,” Garamendi concluded.
Edited from various sources by Katie Woodward
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