Requirements for U.S. exports to be carried on U.S. flag ships is the subject of legislation moving through Congress.
On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved The Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014 (H.R. 4005).
The Transportation Trades Department of the AFL-CIO says Section 318 of the bill “would restore the long-time U.S.-flag requirements for the Food for Peace program.
“Unfortunately, a provision was inserted into the conference report for the 2012 surface transportation authorization, without any committee consideration or evaluation, which reduced the requirement for government generated food aid cargo from 75 to 50 percent. This reduction in cargo has resulted in the loss of U.S.-flag ships, which jeopardizes American mariner jobs and our military’s sealift capability. Section 318 would restore the cargo preference share to 75 percent and ensure the stability of this important program.”
The bill also includes a section calling for the Government Accountability Office to report to the Committee on the economic impacts of exporting LNG on U.S. flagged and built vessels.
Congressman John Garamendi (D-Calif.) vowed that as the “legislation moves forward, I will continue to advocate for additional measures to create more American jobs. This includes requiring that Liquefied Natural Gas is exported on U.S. flagged ships that are built in America and sailed by American crews,” he said.
Garamendi, in a recent op-ed piece published on the CNN website argued, “The U.S. should be prudent in exporting this natural resource
, which has led to resurgence in domestic manufacturing, but I believe that the liquefied natural gas we do send overseas should be shipped on U.S.-flagged tankers and crewed by U.S. licensed and unlicensed mariners.”
A recent report by Ernst and Young noted that, “Almost two dozen US LNG export projects have been proposed and as many as another dozen have been proposed in Canada
. Seven US projects, with a total of about 9 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d) of export capacity (equivalent to more than 12.5 percent of current US natural gas production) have received full export approvals. Approved export project capacity could top 10 bcf/d by the end of 2014.”
But, restrictions on U.S. energy exports are unpopular with other members of Congress. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.) has introduced a bill to lift the ban on the export of U.S. crude oil
“Lifting the outdated ban on crude oil exports will result in more production, create new jobs at home and boost America's energy security while providing countries like Ukraine with a dependable supply alternative to energy imports from countries like Russia."