Committee to Consider Civilian Property Realignment Act, Ballast Water Treatment Legislation & Other Bills

By MarEx 2011-10-12 09:58:31

The Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure will meet at 11:15 a.m. on Thursday, October 13, 2011 in 2167 Rayburn House Office Building to consider the following measures:

  • H.R. 1734, the “Civilian Property Realignment Act”
  • H.R. 2840, the “Commercial Vessel Discharges Reform Act of 2011”
  • H.R. 2919, the “Community Shelter Protection Act of 2011”
  • H.R. 2668, the “Brian A. Terry Memorial Act”

H.R. 1734, the “Civilian Property Realignment Act” (CPRA), was introduced in the House by Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management Subcommittee Chairman Jeff Denham (R-CA).  The bill would employ a BRAC-like process for civilian properties, reduce the federal footprint and save taxpayers billions of dollars.

This cost saving initiative would employ the use of a civilian BRAC process to address chronic management issues and waste as it relates to federal real property.  Denham’s legislation would establish a framework through which an independent commission would review federal properties and make recommendations for consolidations, co-locations, redevelopment, selling or other actions to minimize costs and produce savings for the taxpayer.

“In the face of a $14.3 trillion debt, CPRA is a bipartisan solution to literally shrink the size of government and save taxpayers billions of dollars,” Denham said.  “By taking politics out of the process, we will be able to consolidate our federal footprint and increase transparency in the leasing process in order to hold government accountable and achieve real savings.”

H.R. 2840, the “Commercial Vessel Discharges Reform Act of 2011,” was introduced in the House by Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee Chairman Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ).

The bill amends the Clean Water Act to set a single nationwide performance standard, which conforms to the standard set by the International Maritime Organization, for the treatment of vessel ballast water that is technologically achievable and verifiable. It requires the U.S. Coast Guard to set an implementation schedule requiring vessel owners to install treatment technology certified to meet the new standard.

The bill allows for a review of the performance standard every 10 years or upon petition from the states.  The bill will remedy the current patchwork of varying and inconsistent ballast water regulations across states.

“For years, we have mandated vessel operators to comply with two federal standards and as many as 29 different state and tribal standards, several of which are not even achievable.  This excessive regulation and lack of a uniform standard has bred uncertainty in the industry with the real potential to cause irreparable economic harm,” said LoBiondo.  “My legislation would set a single national standard for the discharge of ballast water which is technologically achievable and enforceable.”

H.R. 2919, the “Community Shelter Protection Act of 2011,” was introduced in the House by U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL).  The bill addresses a problem with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) policy concerning temporary tornado shelters for schools that were severely damaged by tornados earlier this year. Under current FEMA regulations, elementary and secondary schools are required to pay FEMA the fair market value of a covered temporary tornado shelter facility when the facility is no longer needed for its temporary purpose or pay to have it disposed.

H.R. 2919 would prevent FEMA from requiring a school to reimburse FEMA for these shelters.  Existing policy forces cash-strapped schools to choose between purchasing a life-saving shelter or having it removed or demolished, putting the safety of children at risk, while wasting taxpayer funds to tear down a functioning shelter that taxpayers have already paid to erect.

H.R. 2668, the “Brian A. Terry Memorial Act,” was introduced in the House by U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA).  The bill would honor the sacrifice of Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry by designating the station of the United States Border Patrol located at 2136 South Naco Highway in Bisbee, Arizona, as the “Brian A. Terry Border Patrol Station.”

For text of the measures to be considered, click here.  A live webcast of Thursday’s markup will be available at http://transportation.house.gov