Murkowski’s Priorities for Alaska Included in Coast Guard Bill
Senator Pleased to See Present TWIC & Permit Concerns, Future Needs Addressed
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States Senate today unanimously passed the Coast Guard Reauthorization Act, and Senator Lisa Murkowski was pleased to see the final legislation reflected a number of needs she highlighted with key Congressional colleagues earlier this year – from avoiding onerous regulations for small craft owners to a needlessly-long process for renewing maritime security badges to serious infrastructure consideration of an Arctic port as northern waters open up new opportunities and activity.
“Alaska is the only state to border two oceans and has more coastline than the rest of the country combined, so this Coast Guard bill is a key factor in our state economy and future,” said Murkowski. “This bill will keep almost 10,000 registered commercial vessels in Alaska from being required to obtain expensive EPA permits next year, eases the process for port workers to get TWIC IDs renewed, and puts in motion important work towards boosting our Coast Guard’s presence and capabilities approaching the Arctic Circle and above.”
- Streamlining Transportation Worker Identification Card Renewals – Senator Murkowski urged the Department of Homeland Security in November to improve the process for maritime workers to get their security badges renewed – suggesting common-sense ways to cut through the bureaucracy. This bill incorporates one of her suggestions: that the time-consuming and expensive two-trip ordeal be cut to a one-stop process.
- “Small Vessel Discharge Exemption” – Senator Murkowski advocated for a provision in the House version of the bill to exempt thousands of Alaskan commercial vessels from a burdensome, one-size-fits-all Vessel General Permit process that requires vessels to obtain permits for discharges under the Clean Water Act.
- “Report on Development of Arctic Deep Water Port” – Senator Murkowski encouraged her colleagues to direct the Commandant of the Coast Guard to investigate the feasibility of a deep-water Arctic port. This year’s complicated mission to get an oil shipment to Nome through ice underscored the need for
an Arctic port in the region, as northern waters open and boat activity rises.
(Senator Murkowski and USCG Commander Ostebo flying to Nome to oversee fuel transfer, January)
- “Additional Coast Guard Presence in High Latitude Regions” – In addition to investigating the infrastructure of an Arctic port, Senator Murkowski placed a high priority on the provision in the House of Representatives bill requiring that the Secretary of Homeland Security study and report on the need for additional Coast Guard capabilities in Arctic (and Antarctic) areas.
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