Coast Guard reauthorization legislation that passed the US Senate on Nov. 14 and was unanimously approved in the US House on Nov. 27, was signed into law on Dec. 4 by President Trump.
Passage is expected to bring welcomed relief to shipyard workers in Washington state and owners and operators of small commercial fishing vessels in the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere across the nation’s commercial fisheries locations.
Sen. Dan Sullivan R-Alaska, co-author of the bill, noted that the new law includes a focus on the Coast Guard’s recapitalization efforts, positioning of Coast Guard assets to respond in the Arctic, addresses ice breaking capabilities and more. The new law will help the men and women of the Coast Guard with their mission to protect national security and U.S. citizens when they are in trouble on the seas.
“This bill is a step towards further developing our presence in the Arctic and will help us engage more deeply in activities in the north, providing an opportunity for increased development in the region,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who voted for the bill.
“I’m particularly pleased that this bill will permanently exempt Alaskans from the EPA incidental discharge regulation, providing much needed protection for our fishermen and coastal communities.” In past years, harvesters in Alaska had more than 8,000 boats statewide risks fines for rinsing fish guts off their decks, or rainwater washing other materials off. This bill “finally resolves this issue
off their decks” she said.
Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Washington, earlier hailed the bill as “finally a win for Dakota Creek and the hardworking men and women who build fishing, Navy and other vessels in our state.” The huge package deal includes legislation protecting shipbuilding jobs at Dakota Creek Industries in Anacortes, Washington.
Co-sponsors of the bill in the Senate included Senators Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski, both R-Alaska, John Thune, R-SD, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, and Bill Nelson, D-Florida.