Maritime Regulations Must Not Drastically Increase Costs for Businesses, Hamper Growth, and Kill Jobs

By MarEx 2011-05-24 15:34:55

Federal regulations of the U.S. maritime industry must be based on common sense and not stifle the industry’s ability to compete, expand and provide jobs, particularly given the fragile state of the economy, said U.S. Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC) and Members of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee today.

The Subcommittee conducted a hearing entitled “Creating U.S. Maritime Industry Jobs by Reducing Regulatory Burdens” to review current and pending U.S. Coast Guard regulations and examine maritime industry impacts.  More information and testimony by the U.S. Coast Guard can be found here.

The following is the opening statement of Rep. Coble, who chaired today’s hearing in place of Subcommittee Chairman Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ):

“The Subcommittee is meeting today to review the Coast Guard’s regulatory program and examine ways to improve the Service’s rulemaking process.  We are also interested in the status of various pending rules and the impact they will have on maritime safety and commerce. 

“The Coast Guard has broad authority to regulate maritime commerce, including establishing and enforcing rules to ensure mariner safety, vessel and facility security, and protection of the environment.  With such vast authority comes great responsibility to regulate industry in a fair and reasonable way.  This hearing will focus on ensuring that Coast Guard rulemaking is just that: fair and reasonable.  

“It is important to remember the U.S. economy is fueled by maritime commerce.  While regulations must address concerns related to safety, security, and stewardship, they must also balance the importance of maintaining the free flow of maritime commerce.  Domestic shipping alone is responsible for over 500,000 American jobs and $100 billion in annual economic output.  Additionally, 90 percent of all global trade and over 25 percent of our Gross Domestic Product moves via the sea.  With the economy still in a fragile state and unemployment at record levels, it is imperative the federal government foster an atmosphere where our maritime industry can compete and expand.

“To that end, I am very concerned about the cost and impact of several forthcoming Coast Guard rulemakings.  Specifically, rules requiring fishing vessel examinations, the purchase of Automatic Identification System for small vessels, and the installation of ballast water treatment systems aboard vessels could have tremendous impacts on the economy.  If these and other rules are not done in a common sense manner, I am concerned they could drastically increase operating costs for businesses, hamper growth, and kill jobs at a time when our nation can ill afford economic setbacks.

“Finally, just as we are facing tough decisions on how to cut the deficit, these and other pending regulations will require additional personnel and funding for the Coast Guard.  I look forward to hearing from our witnesses how the Coast Guard intends to find the resources to pay for the expansion of its regulatory mission, as well as what steps it is taking to ensure rules are put forth in an efficient and common sense manner.

“I thank the witnesses for appearing today and look forward to their testimony.”


Pictured: Howie Coble