Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA-03), Ranking Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure’s Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee, introduced H.R. 5270, the Growing American Shipping Act, which aims to modernize U.S. LNG shipping export laws and strengthen the maritime industry. The Subcommittee’s Chairman, Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA-50), joined the legislation as an original cosponsor.
Existing law, written before the natural gas boom when it was thought America would be a liquefied natural gas (LNG) importer, authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to develop and implement a program to promote the transportation of imported LNG on U.S.-flag vessels. Under the Deepwater Ports Act, the Secretary is also required to give top priority to the processing of licenses for LNG import facilities that will utilize U.S.-flag vessels.
This bill would modernize these laws, ensuring commitment to U.S. maritime is maintained as export opportunities are considered. It would:
- Authorize the Secretary of Transportation to develop and implement a program to promote the export of LNG on U.S.-flag vessels, and
- Require the Secretary to give priority processing of export applications for deepwater port terminals that would utilize U.S.-flag vessels.
Garamendi said, “In order for businesses to grow, they must identify new opportunities and seize them. The export market for LNG, a strategic national asset, is ready to take off. At the same time, our nation’s maritime industry has been declining for years. Our nation must take the bull by the horns. When it is deemed appropriate to export LNG, it should be on American-flagged vessels.”
Hunter said, “A strong U.S. maritime industry is essential to the national economy and global security. This legislation will help strengthen this industry by promoting LNG export opportunities on U.S. flag vessels — which is most certainly in the national interest.”