House and Senate versions of legislation designed to kick start the domestic shipbuilding industry is back in Congress, again with bipartisan support.
The Energizing American Shipbuilding Act would require 15 percent of total U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports by 2043 and 10 percent of total U.S. crude oil exports by 2035 be carried aboard U.S.-built tankers. It was presented on March 11, after failing to be passed in previous Congresses.
According to the bill’s House sponsor, U.S. Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA), “The bill will spur construction of dozens of ships, support thousands of new good-paying jobs in American shipyards, and provide a boost to the domestic vessel component manufacturing and maritime industries.
“U.S. exports of America’s LNG and crude oil resources present a unique opportunity to create middle-class jobs by strengthening our nation’s crucial domestic shipbuilding, advanced manufacturing, and maritime industries – which are key to national security and our ability to project American military power aboard,” added Garamendi. “American shipyards and mariners are ready for the job.”
U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), one of two Senate sponsors, said, “Strengthening our domestic maritime industry is essential to our national defense. Ensuring the U.S. can move our growing energy exports on American-flagged, American-crewed vessels protects the critical role these vessels play in our national defense and bolsters hundreds of thousands of American shipbuilding and maritime jobs.”
“Requiring LNG and oil to be exported on U.S.-built and crewed vessels will help strengthen our nation’s shipyards and maritime industry and keep America competitive in international markets,” declared the other Senate sponsor, U.S. Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA). “The bipartisan Energizing American Shipbuilding Act would also create good-paying jobs for our ports in Pennsylvania, and throughout the country, while increasing ship manufacturing to ensure that we can provide sealift capacity for our military.”
Along with Garamendi, House cosponsors include U.S. Reps. Julia Brownley (D-CA), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Elaine Luria (D-VA), Chris Pappas (D-NH) and Rob Wittman (R-VA).
In announcing her support for the bill, Luria – a 20-year Navy veteran – stated, “The Energizing American Shipbuilding Act would create good-paying jobs, stimulate American energy exports and reduce our dependence on foreign shipyards. I am pleased to join a bipartisan coalition of House and Senate lawmakers to champion this commonsense legislation.”
The Shipbuilders Council of America has reported that the measure’s passage could lead to the construction of more than 40 new vessels, including 28 LNG carriers by 2043 and 12 oil tankers by 2035.