OCEAN PLANNING LETTER

June 14, 2014



The Honorable John Boehner

Speaker, U.S. House of Representatives

Office of the Speaker

H-232, U.S. Capitol

Washington, DC 20515

 

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi

Minority Leader, U.S. House of Representatives

Office of the Democratic Leader

H-204, U.S. Capitol

Washington, DC 20515

 

The Honorable Harold Rogers

Chairman, House Appropriations Committee

2406 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

 

The Honorable Nita M. Lowey

Ranking Member, House Appropriations Committee

2365 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

 

Dear Speaker Boehner, Leader Pelosi, Chairman Rogers and Ranking Member Lowey:

The North Atlantic Ports Association Inc., founded in 1949, is one of the oldest and most active trade associations of commercial seaports. Our goal is to promote ocean commerce in a responsible manner in order to strengthen the national economy and help our communities to prosper.

Our members are connected to seaports and ocean commerce in some way: terminal operators, stevedores, port authorities, governmental agencies, non-profits, consultants, academics, maritime lawyers, ships' agents and are all located between Virginia and the Canadian Maritimes. Our member ports, in the United States, are Portland, Portsmouth, Gloucester, Boston, New Bedford, Providence, Davisville, New London, New Haven, Bridgeport, New York, Philadelphia, Wilmington, Baltimore, and Norfolk. We are interested in expanding trade among nations and in helping our local communities to prosper through growth in ocean commerce. As the economy becomes ever more global, our role in the world-wide supply chain has increased in importance. Ocean activity across the nation is growing. We have witnessed the competition for space amongst the numerous ocean-based business sectors either currently operating or planning to operate in our ocean and ports. Coordinated planning is critical to ensure the current and future needs of our businesses are considered and accommodated as the ocean and ports become more crowded. 

We, the members of the North Atlantic Ports Association, resolved during our last semi-annual meeting to ask our leaders in Washington “to utilize existing federal programs in support of the rapid development of the Marine Highway System to ease roadway corridor congestion, reduce infrastructure costs, provide for improved safety and security, and to have a positive environmental impact to the benefit of the general public.” Further, the resolution calls for the development of a National Ports Strategy to better integrate the marine highway system into our national surface transportation strategy, network and policies. We believe that the resources necessary to achieve these objectives exist within the budget of the U.S. Department of Transportation. 

Regional Ocean Partnerships like the Northeast Regional Ocean Council, and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean, provide a unique forum for the states and federal agencies to work across jurisdictional boundaries on ocean and coastal challenges.  This venue offers our businesses a clear way to have a seat at the decision-making table, rather than on an ad hoc basis trying to track and respond to the huge array of new ocean activities that affect our businesses.  This type of planning approach ensures that we are able to inform future decisions by providing input on the needs of our industry. 

It is important to us that Regional Ocean Partnerships have the funding necessary to continue this regional ocean coordination and planning work, and that federal legislation does not interfere with the process.  We believe that the resources necessary to achieve these objectives exist within the budget of the various agencies.  Unfortunately, a number of amendments have been repeatedly inserted into the recent legislation, in an attempt to prohibit key coastal and ocean management agencies from coordinating with coastal states, other federal agencies, and the public.

We strongly oppose these amendments to any legislation, which undermine our ability to engage in planning for future ocean uses impede the integration of the marine highway system and create uncertainty for our businesses. 

We thank you for your consideration and support.

 

Sincerely,

Capt. F. Bradley Wellock

President

 

 

 

CONTACT:

Thomas Valleau

Executive Director

North Atlantic Ports Association Inc.

375 Pride St. Unit 35

Westbrook, ME  04092

207-774-3600

tvalleau36@gmail.com


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