Here is an article that I believe is a must read. I would also check out H. R. 2830 it is a MONSTER read (over 300 pages) but, some EXTREMELY important industry issues are in there.
Touch keys with you later.
Coast Guard protests House authorization bill maneuver
In a highly unusual move, Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen late Wednesday issued a statement criticizing newly inserted provisions contained in the service’s 2008 authorization bill under consideration in the House. Also Wednesday, the White House Office of Management and Budget issued a policy statement opposing H.R. 2830 and said advisers would recommend that President Bush veto the bill should it reach his desk.
While the Coast Guard had been working closely with lawmakers on an earlier version of H.R. 2830, last Friday the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee filed an amendment with the Rules Committee, essentially substituting new language for the bill, which the Rules Committee adopted late Tuesday. The revised bill contains a number of provisions not previously discussed with the Coast Guard as well as some the service has said are unfeasible.
The bill “would have a detrimental effect on the Coast Guard’s ability to carry out our many vital maritime safety, security and environmental protection missions,” Allen said. “I have an obligation to the public and our Coast Guard men and women to ensure the Coast Guard retains the necessary discretion and flexibility to meet our mission demands in an often-changing, dangerous operating environment. This bill, in its current form, does not do that.”
Among other things, the bill would require the Coast Guard to provide security for liquefied natural gas terminals and tankers. In a letter Wednesday to Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman James Oberstar, D-Minn., Allen said the requirement was at odds with accepted risk management and “would divert finite Coast Guard assets away from other high-priority missions.” OMB said the provision “provides an unwarranted and unnecessary subsidy to the owners of private infrastructure.”
Allen and White House officials also are concerned about the bill’s provisions regarding the assignment of flag officers and civilian executives. For more than a year the Coast Guard has sought congressional approval to create two deputy commandant positions for operations and mission support; merge its Pacific and Atlantic Area commands into a single operational command; and create a force readiness command to standardize doctrine development. The service also wants to elevate the vice commandant to the rank of admiral.
The changes Allen has requested would structure the Coast Guard commensurate with the other military services and give the commandant greater flexibility in assigning senior leaders. But provisions in H.R. 2830 would limit the commandant’s ability to assign senior personnel, both uniform and civilian, and essentially substitutes the existing organizational structure with another equally inflexible one, said Cmdr. Brendan McPherson, Allen’s spokesman.
There are other points of contention in the revised bill, including a provision to impose ballast water treatment standards that current technology cannot meet, rendering the requirement unenforceable, McPherson said.
The bill also fails to provide protections for seafarers willing to support Coast Guard investigations into environmental violations at sea — safeguards the service believes are necessary to successfully prosecute cases. The administration also wants to make migrant smuggling a felony crime, something the revised bill fails to address.
No Coast Guard authorization bill in recent memory has met with such fierce opposition from the White House and the commandant, McPherson said.