Congressman John Garamendi

Representing the 3rd District of California
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Congressman Garamendi: President’s India Trip Shows Maritime Job Opportunity for America

January 26, 2015
Press Release

Ranking Member Says Energy Exports Can Spur Shipbuilding and Merchant Marine and
Offered Amendment to House LNG Bill

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA-03), released a letter he wrote to President Obama, urging the Administration to use any future exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to strengthen our domestic shipbuilding and merchant marine sector. This letter comes at the same time as the President’s trip to India, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a “Make In India” effort analogous to Democrats’ “Make It In America” agenda. The letter from Garamendi, who is Ranking Member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee, is linked here and its full text is included below.

“American LNG is a strategic national asset, and must be used to bolster another strategic national asset, our domestic shipbuilding industry and merchant marine personnel,” Ranking Member Garamendi writes in the letter. “It is time for the United States to recognize this global trend and use its LNG as leverage to bring to our shores new industries, hundreds of thousands of jobs, and national security modernizations befitting a global climate in which trade by sea will be a critical vulnerability for those nations who do not build, own, or operate ships…. The potential is vast, and I urge you to stand strong for American shipbuilding as Prime Minister Modi has for India’s.”

This week, the House of Representatives will consider H.R. 351, a bill to expedite the export of LNG. Today at the House Rules Committee’s hearing on the legislation, Garamendi offered an amendment that would require that American LNG be exported on United States-flagged vessels until 2020 and on United States-built and flagged LNG vessels thereafter. The amendment text is linked here. While the Committee did not authorize consideration of the amendment on the House Floor, there was support for the amendment’s concept, including from the Chair.

Text of the Letter to President Obama:

January 23, 2015

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama,

As you prepare for your upcoming trip to India and your historic attendance of the Republic Day parade, I write in support of the effort undertaken by the First Lady and you to extend a hand of friendship and hope to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

As you embark on a new chapter in diplomatic relations with the Prime Minister, I want to bring your attention to specific actions India has taken to create jobs and bolster its domestic shipbuilding industry through the import of American liquefied natural gas (LNG), as well as critical opportunities to bring these same game-changing benefits to our own citizens.

As you may know, Prime Minister Modi has launched an aggressive “Make in India” effort. The policy blueprint is akin to Democrats’ “Make It In America” agenda, and has taken some considerable steps which I find to be exemplary. Most notably, the Prime Minister recognizes the rise of LNG trade as an opportunity to revitalize its shipbuilding base, create jobs, and advance its technological edge, all of which are vital to every country’s national security. As India prepares to import American LNG, it has put out a tender for nine LNG vessels, under the condition that the winning bidder builds one of every three ships in India.

American LNG is a strategic national asset, and must be used to bolster another strategic national asset, our domestic shipbuilding industry and merchant marine personnel. As clearly laid out in section 3503 of Public Law 113-66, maintaining a U.S. shipbuilding base is critical to meeting United States national security requirements, and can be achieved through the construction of vessels for use in transporting potential new energy exports. India recognizes the national security significance of such technology and capability, as demonstrated by its commitment to require one-third of its LNG import vessels to be Indian-built. South Korea also recognizes what’s at stake, and has registered shipbuilding technology as a national core technology to be controlled by the Korean government.

It is time for the United States to recognize this global trend and use its LNG as leverage to bring to our shores new industries, hundreds of thousands of jobs, and national security modernizations befitting a global climate in which trade by sea will be a critical vulnerability for those nations who do not build, own, or operate ships.

In December of 2014, you signed into law the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Reauthorization Act, which contained a provision that requires the Secretary of Transportation to develop a program to promote the use of U.S.-flag vessels in the export of LNG, and to give priority processing of export applications for deepwater terminals that would utilize U.S.-flag vessels. This week, as well, Congress will consider a bill to expedite the approval process for LNG export, and you can be sure that the role of U.S.-built and -flagged vessels will be discussed on the floor of the House of Representatives.

The opportunity is ripe to push a program that reinvigorates our domestic maritime industry, advances American manufacturing, creates good shipbuilding and maritime jobs, and reclaims our expertise in a technology we once pioneered. The potential is vast, and I urge you to stand strong for American shipbuilding as Prime Minister Modi has for India’s.

Sincerely,

John Garamendi
Third District, California

 

Cc:       The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives

            The Honorable Mark Warner, U.S. Senator

            The Honorable Ami Bera, Member of U.S. Congress

            The Honorable Anthony Foxx, U.S. Secretary of Transportation

            The Honorable Penny Pritzker, U.S. Secretary of Commerce

            The Honorable Ernest Moniz, U.S. Secretary of Energy