2017 Maritime Legislation

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In each Congress, thousands of bills are introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. The majority of these measures do not receive specific legislative attention. However, a number of these bills would impact the U.S.-flag maritime industry if enacted into law.

The Transportation Institute regularly follows the status of maritime-related legislation. The following are bills of particular interest to the maritime industry. The actual text of these and any other bills can be found at the legislative web site of the U.S. Congress, THOMAS.

H.R. 154Honoring Our WWII Merchant Mariners Act of 2017
Sponsor:Rep. Green (TX)
Cosponsors:1 as of 4/18/17
Status:1/3/17 Introduced.
Referred to Veterans' Affairs Committee.

Summary:

(as introduced): Would amend Title 38, United States Code, to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to establish the Merchant Mariner Equity Compensation Fund to provide benefits to certain individuals who served in the United States merchant marine (including the Army Transport Service and the Naval Transport Service) during World War II.

H.R. 351Travel Between the United States and Cuba
Sponsor:Rep. Sanford (SC)
Cosponsors:15 as of 4/18/17
Status:1/6/17 Introduced.
Referred to Foreign Affairs Committee.

Summary:

(as introduced): Would allow travel between the United States and Cuba.

H.R. 442Cuba Trade Act of 2017
Sponsor:Rep. Emmer (MN)
Cosponsors:21 as of 4/18/17
Status:1/11/17 Introduced.
Referred to Foreign Affairs Committee.
Referred to Ways and Means Committee.
Referred to Financial Services Committee.
Referred to Agriculture Committee.

Summary:

(as introduced): Would lift the trade embargo on Cuba.

H.R. 458Preserve Our Lakes and Keep Our Environment Safe Act
Sponsor:Rep. Trorr (MI)
Cosponsors:2 as of 4/18/17
Status:1/11/17 Introduced.
Referred to Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Referred to Energy and Commerce Committee.

Summary:

(as introduced): Would require the Secretary of Transportation to conduct a study on the economic and environmental risks to the Great Lakes of spills or leaks of oil.

H.R. 525Cuba Agricultural Exports Act
Sponsor:Rep. Crawford (AR)
Cosponsors:36 as of 4/18/17
Status:1/13/17 Introduced.
Referred to Foreign Affairs Committee.
Referred to Financial Affairs Committee.
Referred to Agriculture Committee.
Summary:

(as introduced): Would modify the prohibition on United States assistance and financing for certain exports to Cuba under the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000.

H.R. 572Promoting American Agricultural and Medical Exports to Cuba Act
Sponsor:Rep. Serrano (NY)
Cosponsors:None as of 4/18/17
Status:1/13/17 Introduced.
Referred to Foreign Affairs Committee.
Referred to Ways and Means Committee.
Referred to Judiciary Committee.
Referred to Agriculture Committee.
Referred to Financial Services Committee.
Summary:

(as introduced): Would facilitate the export of United States agricultural products to Cuba as authorized by the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000, to remove impediments to the export to Cuba of medical devices and medicines, to allow travel to Cuba by United States legal residents, to establish an agricultural export promotion program with respect to Cuba

H.R. 574Cuba Reconciliation Act
Sponsor:Rep. Serrano (NY)
Cosponsors:None as of 4/18/17
Status:1/13/17 Introduced.
Referred to Foreign Affairs Committee.
Referred to Ways and Means Committee.
Referred to Judiciary Committee.
Referred to Agriculture Committee.
Referred to Financial Services Committee.
Referred to Energy and Commerce Committee.
Summary:

(as introduced): Would lift the trade embargo on Cuba.

H.R. 619Older Inland Vessel Fire-Resistant Exemption
Sponsor:Rep. Chabot (OH)
Cosponsors:10 as of 4/18/17
Status:1/13/17 Introduced.
Referred to Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
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Summary:

(as introduced): Would amend Title 46, United States Code, to exempt old vessels that only operate within inland waterways from the fire-retardant materials requirement if the owners of such vessels make annual structural alterations to at least 10 percent of the areas of the vessels that are not constructed of fire-retardant materials.

H.R. 728Prohibit New Jersey Offshore Oil and Gas Development
Sponsor:Rep. LoBiondo (NJ)
Cosponsors:3 as of 4/18/17
Status:1/13/17 Introduced.
Referred to Natural Resources Committee.
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Summary:

(as introduced): Would prohibit the Secretary of the Interior from issuing oil and gas leases on protions of the Outer Continental Shelf off the coast of New Jersey.

H.R. 731California Clean Coast Act
Sponsor:Rep. Carbajal (CA)
Cosponsors:None as of 4/18/17
Status:1/30/17 Introduced.
Referred to Natural Resources Committee.
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Summary:

(as introduced): Would permanently prohibit oil and gas leasing off the coast of California.

H.R. 861Terminate Environmental Protection Agency
Sponsor:Rep. Gaetz (FL)
Cosponsors:6 as of 4/18/17
Status:2/3/17 Introduced.
Referred to Energy and Commerce Committee.
Referred to Agriculture Committee.
Referred to Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Referred to Science, Space and Technology Committee.
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Summary:

(as introduced): Would terminate the Environmental Protection Agency.

H.R. 958Wasteful EPA Programs Elimination Act of 2017
Sponsor:Rep. Johnson (TX)
Cosponsors:None as of 4/18/17
Status:2/7/17 Introduced.
Referred to Energy and Commerce Committee.
Referred to Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Referred to Agriculture Committee.
Referred to Space, Science and Technology Committee.
Referred to Science, Space and Technology Committee.
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Summary:

(as introduced): Would eliminate certain programs of the Environmental Protection Agency insluding those regulating greenhouse emissions from mobile sources.

H.R. 966TIGER CUBS Act
Sponsor:Rep. Larsen (WA)
Cosponsors:8 as of 4/18/17
Status:2/3/17 Introduced.
Referred to Appropriations Committee.
Referred to Budget Committee.

Summary:

(as introduced): Would make supplemental appropriations for Fiscal Year 2017 for the TIGER discretionary grant program

H.R. 1154Commercial Vesssel Incidential Discharge Act
Sponsor:Rep. Hunter (CA)
Cosponsors:27 as of 4/18/17
Status:2/16/17 Introduced.
Referred to Transportation and Infrastructure Committee..

Summary:

(as introduced): Would provide for the establishment of nationally uniform and environmentally sound standards governing discharges incidental to the normal operation of a commercial vessel.

H.R. 1240Energizing American Maritime Act
Sponsor:Rep. Garamendi (NY)
Cosponsors:6 as of 4/18/17
Status:2/28/17 Introduced.
Referred to Energy and Commerce Committee.
Referred to Foreign Affairs Committee.

Summary:

(as introduced): Would require a certain percentage of liquefied natural gas and crude oil exports be transported on vessels documented under the laws of the United States.

H.R. 1261Federal Regulatory Certainity for Water Act
Sponsor:Rep. Thornberry (TX)
Cosponsors:1 as of 4/18/17
Status:2/28/17 Introduced.
Referred to Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Summary:

(as introduced): Would clarify the definition of navigable waters.

H.R. 1301Fiscal Year 2017 Department of Defense Appropriations Act
Sponsor:Rep. Freinghuysen (NJ)
Cosponsors:None as of 3/8/17
Status:2/28/17 Introduced.
Referred to Appropriations Committee.
Referred to Budget Committee.
3/8/17 Passed House 371 - 48.
3/9/17 Received in Senate.

Summary:

(as introduced): Would provide appropriations for the Fiscal Year ending September 2017 to the Department of Defense for military operations. Excludes military construction, military family housing, civil works projects of the Army Corps of Engineers and nuclear weapons.

H.R. 1504Hudson River Protection Act
Sponsor:Rep. Maloney (NY)
Cosponsors:1 as of 4/18/17
Status:2/28/17 Introduced.
Referred to Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Summary:

(as introduced): Would amend the Act popularly known as the Rivers and Harbors Appropriation Act of 1915 to prohibit the establishment of certain anchorage grounds within five miles of a nuclear power plant, a location on the national register of historic places, a superfund site or critical habitat of an endangered species.

H.R. 1726Coast Guard Improvement and Reform Act 20 2017
Sponsor:Rep. Hunter (CA)
Cosponsors:1 as of 4/18/17
Status:3/27/17 Introduced.
Referred to Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
3/29/17 Ordered to be reported by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Summary:

(as introduced): Would amend Title 14, United States Code, to improve the organization of such Title and to incorporate certain transfers and modifications into such Title.

H.R. 1784Stop Arctic Drilling Act of 2017
Sponsor:Rep. Huffman (CO)
Cosponsors:37 as of 4/18/17
Status:3/29/17 Introduced.
Referred to Natural Resources Committee.

Summary:

(as introduced): Would prohibit drilling in the Arctic Ocean.

H.R. 1889Udall-Eisenhower Arctic Wilderness Act
Sponsor:Rep. Huffman (CO)
Cosponsors:3 as of 4/18/17
Status:4/4/17 Introduced.
Referred to Natural Resources Committee.

Summary:

(as introduced): Would preserve the Arctic coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska, as wilderness in recognition of its extraordinary natural ecosystems and for the permanent good of present and future generations of Americans.

H.R. 1893Great Lakes Algal Blooms Information Act
Sponsor:Rep. Latta (OH)
Cosponsors:1 as of 4/18/17
Status:4/4/17 Introduced.
Referred to Science, Space and Technology Committee.
Referred to Natural Resources Committee.

Summary:

(as introduced): Would require the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to create an electronic database of research and information on the causes of, and corrective actions being taken with regard to, algal blooms in the Great Lakes, their tributaries, and other surface fresh waters.

H.R. 1908Investing in America: Unlocking the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Act
Sponsor:Rep. Kelly (PA)
Cosponsors:1 as of 4/18/17
Status:4/5/17 Introduced.
Referred to Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Referred to Ways and Means Committee.
Referred to Budget Committee.

Summary:

(as introduced): Would provide for the use of funds in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund for the purposes for which the funds were collected and to ensure that funds credited to the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund are used to support navigation.

H.R. 2002Florida Coastal Protection Act
Sponsor:Rep. Castor (PA)
Cosponsors:3 as of 4/18/17
Status:4/5/17 Introduced.
Referred to Natural Resources Committee.

Summary:

(as introduced): Would provide for the use of funds in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund for the purposes for which the funds were collected and to ensure that funds credited to the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund are used to support navigation.

H.R. 2145Russian Offshore Arctic Development Prohibition
Sponsor:Rep. Waters (CA)
Cosponsors:None as of 4/28/17
Status:4/25/17 Introduced.
Referred to Foreign Affairs Committee.

Summary:

(as introduced): Would prohibit licenses or other authorization for United States persons to engage in activities relating to deepwater, Arctic offshore, or shale projects that have the potential to produce oil in the Russian Federation, or in maritime area claimed by the Russian Federation.

H.R. 2157Offshore Oil and Gas Leasing Relaxation
Sponsor:Rep. Brat (VA)
Cosponsors:22 as of 4/28/17
Status:4/25/17 Introduced.
Referred to Natural Resources Committee.

Summary:

(as introduced): Would amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to limit the authority of the President to withdraw areas from oil and gas leasing.

H.R. 2173Passenger Vessel Security
Sponsor:Rep. Matsiu (CA)
Cosponsors:2 as of 4/28/17
Status:4/25/17 Introduced.
Referred to Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Summary:

(as introduced): Would improve passenger vessel security and safety,

S. 31West Coast Protection Act of 2017
Sponsor:Sen. Feinstein (CA)
Cosponsors:5 as of 4/18/17
Status:1/4/17 Introduced.
Referred to Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
Summary:

(as introduced) Would amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to prohibit the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management from issuing a lease for the exploration, development, or production of oil or natural gas in any area of the outer Continental Shelf off the coast of California, Oregon, or Washington.

S. 49Alaska Oil and Gas Production Act
Sponsor:Sen. Murkowski (AK)
Cosponsors:1 as of 4/18/17
Status:1/5/17 Introduced.
Referred to Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
Summary:

(as introduced) Would provide a leasing program within the Coastal Plain.

S. 74Marine Oil Spill Prevention Act
Sponsor:Sen. Nelson (FL)
Cosponsors:2 as of 4/18/17
Status:1/5/17 Introduced.
Referred to Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.
Summary:

(as introduced) Would improve the ability of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Coast Guard, and coastal States to sustain healthy ocean and coastal ecosystems by maintaining and sustaining their capabilities relating to oil spill preparedness, prevention and response.

S. 89Older Inland Waterways Vessel Fire-Resistant Exemption Act
Sponsor:Sen. McCaskill (MO)
Cosponsors:7 as of 4/18/17
Status:1/10/17 Introduced.
Referred to Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.
3/21/27 Reported by Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.
Summary:

(ias introduced) Would exempt old vessels from the fire-retardant materials requirement under certain circumstances.

S. 168Commercial Vessel Incidential Discharge Act
Sponsor:Sen. Wicker (MS)
Cosponsors:20 as of 4/18/17
Status:1/17/17 Introduced.
Referred to Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.
1/24/17 Ordered reported by Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.
Summary:

(as introduced) Would provide singular national incidential vessel discharge standards.

S. 275Agricultural Export Expansion Act of 2017
Sponsor:Sen. Heitkamp (ND)
Cosponsors:15 as of 4/18/17
Status:2/2/17 Introduced.
Referred to Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.
Summary:

(as introduced) Would allow the financing by United States persons of sales of agricultural commodities to Cuba.

S. 472Cuba Trade Act of 2017
Sponsor:Sen. Moran (KS)
Cosponsors:None as of 4/18/17
Status:Introduced 2/28/17.
Referred to Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.
Summary:

(as introduced) Would lift the trade embargo on Cuba.

S. 505Waterway LNG Parity Act of 2017
Sponsor:Sen. Cassidy (LA)
Cosponsors:3 as of 4/18/17
Status:Introduced 2/28/17.
Referred to Finance Committee.
Summary:

(as introduced) Would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide for an energy equivalent of a gallon of diesel in the case of liquefied natural gas for purposes of the Inland Waterways Trust Fund financing rate.

S. 756Save Our Seas Act of 2017
Sponsor:Sen. Sullivan (AK)
Cosponsors:7 as of 4/18/17
Status:Introduced 2/28/17.
Referred to Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.
Summary:

(as introduced) Would reauthorize and amend the Marine Debris Act to promote international action to reduce marine debris.

S. 763Surface and Maritime Transportation Security
Sponsor:Sen. Thune (SD)
Cosponsors:7 as of 4/18/17
Status:Introduced 3/29/17.
Referred to Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.
Summary:

(as introduced) Would improve surface and maritime transportation security.

S. 820Arctic National Wildlife Refrue Wilderness Act
Sponsor:Sen. Markey (MA)
Cosponsors:39 as of 4/18/17
Status:Introduced 4/4/17.
Referred to Environment and Public Works Committee.
Summary:

(as introduced) Would designate a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as wilderness.

S. 956Offshore Oil and Gas Leasing Relaxation
Sponsor:Sen. Cassidy (LA)
Cosponsors:1 as of 4/28/17
Status:Introduced 4/27/17.
Referred to Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
Summary:

(as introduced) Would amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to limit the authority of the President to withdraw areas from oil and gas leasing.

S. 965Passenger Vessel Security
Sponsor:Sen. Blumenthal (CT)
Cosponsors:1 as of 4/28/17
Status:Introduced 4/27/17.
Referred to Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.
Summary:

(as introduced) Would improve passenger vessel security and safety.