Washington, D.C. – Today, Alaska Congressman Don Young, former Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, helped the House pass legislation reauthorizing funding for the Coast Guard through F.Y. 2022, included with H.R. 6395, the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). In addition to reauthorizing Coast Guard funding, amendments increasing the U.S. Maritime Administration’s (MARAD) ability to assist U.S. flagged maritime sector and maritime workforce were included in the package and supported by Congressman Young. The passage of the NDAA, Coast Guard reauthorization, and expected passage of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) each contain provisions to support and enhance Alaska’s maritime security, commerce, and infrastructure needs.
“With more coastline than all of the states in the Union combined, many Alaskans experience firsthand how essential the Coast Guard’s mission in Alaska is to protecting our waters, defending our borders, and frequently, serving as first responders to maritime emergencies,” said Congressman Don Young. “The bipartisan reauthorization passed today with the NDAA provides the dedicated men and women of the United States Coast Guard with the resources necessary to fulfill their critical mission. As a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and an advocate for the Coast Guard’s mission in Alaska, I was pleased to support a bill that includes robust authorizations to procure a Polar Security Cutter, National Security Cutter, and four Fast Response Cutters. Both this legislation and the President recognize that the eyes of the world are on the Arctic. This reauthorization will help ensure that the Coast Guard is able to plan properly and is prepared for their increased role in the Arctic, and helps ensure that Alaska’s local communities and Alaska Natives are a central part of policymaking. Alaska is the state that makes this country an Arctic nation, and I will continue to work on all fronts so that the U.S. is ready for its security, environmental, and economic future in the Arctic, with the Coast Guard in a central role.
Additionally, I was able to secure the inclusion of provisions to assist Alaska’s maritime tourism industry, improve the navigation of Alaska’s waters, and enhance waterborne commercial activity in the Arctic. I am grateful to my colleagues on the committee for dedicating so much of their time and attention to this crucial reauthorization. I look forward to working with the Alaska Delegation to ensure that the bill we send to the President’s desk strengthens our Coast Guard and benefits our great state for years to come.”
Alaska-Specific Provisions Supported by Congressman Young in this Legislation:
- Memorializing the Coast Guard’s prioritization of its Arctic mission, including the Arctic Search and Rescue mission and prioritizing planning for Armed Forces Arctic readiness capability.
- Creation of an Arctic Shipping Federal Advisory Committee to provide recommendations on emerging opportunities for Arctic maritime transportation.
- Clarification allowing the conveyance of Coast Guard property at Point Spencer to be carried out in a timelier manner.
- Relief for small and uninspected passenger vessels rebuilt in the United States to allow domestic coastwise use.
- Establishment of a demonstration program through the Coast Guard to assess the feasibility of using unmanned aircraft systems for operations in the Arctic.
- Enhancement of oil spill research and response capabilities.
United States Maritime Administration (MARAD) Provisions:
- The Maritime Transportation System Emergency Relief Act provides MARAD the authority during an emergency, such as COVID-19, to provide financial assistance via grants to the U.S. maritime sector to ensure that the U.S. Maritime Transportation System remains fully operational.
- Congressman Young’s amendment included in this package establishes a National Shipper Advisory Committee to advise the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) on policies related to the competitiveness, reliability, integrity, and fairness of the international ocean freight delivery system.
- The Establishment of the Elijah E. Cummings Merchant Mariner Career Training Loan Program to provide loans to students pursuing merchant mariner education.