The SCA provides its membership routine updates and analysis of legislation that will have an impact, good or bad, on the U.S. shipyard industrial base. A core mission of the SCA is to advocate for important legislation and policies that will benefit the shipyard industry, but also to actively track any bills that could be harmful to our manufacturing sector or amendments to laws that would cripple the overall capability of our industry.
Part of this advocacy requires the SCA team to inform our membership on legislative activity by providing updates on the movement of legislation from key committees to the Senate and House floors and then on to conferencing stages before the legislation ultimately is sent to the President for signature into law. In every phase of the legislative process there are opportunities for the SCA team to influence or advocate for changes to legislation important to the industry. Providing updates on the status of legislation through the SCA Weekly Reports, briefings at the three General Membership Meetings a year, and from SCA Alerts, allows the SCA membership to be informed on the status of important legislation and provides essential political outreach to alert Members of Congress to support or oppose legislation we are tracking. In addition, SCA provides legislative analysis that our membership can utilize to better understand certain bills or to highlight critical provisions buried in lengthy, complicated legislation. In addition to legislative analysis, the SCA provides key information on the need for certain bills or provisions in order for our membership to advocate to their respective Congressional Delegations to support legislation as it moves through Congress.
The following are some examples of the legislative analysis and information provided routinely throughout the Congressional year for SCA members:
update on the american fisheries act - vessels replacement/rebuild provision
The House Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010 (H.R. 3619), which passed out of the House on October 23, 2009, included a provision to allow for the American Fisheries Act (AFA) eligible vessels to be replaced and rebuilt. The Senate Coast Guard Authorization Act for FY2010 and FY2011 (S. 1194), included the same provision.
Recall, in the previous two Congresses, the House Coast Guard Authorization bill included the exact same provision to amend the American Fisheries Act (Title II of division C of Public Law 105; 112 Stat. 2681), which would allow owners of vessels eligible to participate in the Bering Sea pollock fishery to rebuild or replace their fishing vessels.
Unfortunately, in an effort to resolve remaining holds on the Senate Coast Guard bill to pass it out of the Senate, numerous provisions were dropped from the bill including the AFA vessel replacement provision.
The American Fisheries Act (AFA) was enacted in 1998 and implemented two basic objectives: (1) required 75% U.S.-ownership and control of all U.S. flag vessels engaged in fisheries in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone, and (2) permanently locked in the fishing fleet that participated in the Bering Sea Pollock Fishery in order to preserve the pollock resource, but also to provide economic stability for the fishery.
Only the 38 vessels specifically named in the AFA or a class of "catcher vessels" (there were roughly 100 of these vessels, maybe fewer now through consolidation of the fleet after passage of the AFA) may participate in the Bering Sea Pollock Fishery. The law speaks to the actual vessels. For a fisherman to continue to operate in the fishery, the actual "steel" of the vessel must be in existence, otherwise that fisherman forfeits his privilege to catch pollock in the Bering Sea. The Act did not contemplate these vessels needing to be rebuilt or replaced.
important market for u.s. shipyards
The AFA vessel replacement provision if passed would provide an immediate new market for the building or substantial conversion work of numerous commercial fishing vessels in U.S. shipyards. The AFA vessels were built in shipyard around the United States, including the Gulf coast states and the Great Lakes. This is a critical time for U.S. shipyards with fewer new build contracts on the market and many projects winding down in advance of the double hull requirement by 2012 under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. In addition, the offshore drilling moratorium imposed after the Gulf Oil Spill in 2010, has further impacted new build contracts and repair work in U.S. shipyards.
The AFA vessel replacement provision would provide needed work in U.S. shipyards during an extremely difficult time for our industry.
small shipyard assistance program
H.R. 1 - S. AMDT 570
Title XII - Transportation, Housing, Urban Development, and Related Agencies
MARITIME ADMINISTRATION (MARAD)
Supplemental Grants for Assistance to Small Shipyards
To make grants to qualified shipyards as authorized under section 3506 of Public Law 109-163 or section 54101 of title 46, United States Code, $100,000,000: Provided, That the Secretary of Transportation shall institute measures to ensure that funds provided under this heading shall be obligated within 180 days of the date of their distribution: Provided further, That the Maritime Administrator may retain and transfer to "Maritime Administration, Operations and Training" up to 2 percent of the funds provided under this heading to fund the award by the Administrator of grants made under this heading
The purpose and economic benefits of the Small Shipyard Assistance Program (SSAP):
- The Small Shipyard Assistance program was authorized by Section 3506 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2006
- The purpose of the program is to provide grants for capital improvements and related infrastructure improvements at qualified shipyards that will facilitate the efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and quality of domestic ship construction.
- There are nearly 350 qualified shipyards located in almost every region of the United States that will benefit from this program and provided substantial employment opportunities in direct infrastructure construction work and sustained family-wage jobs in U.S. commercial shipyards.
- The program provides on a competitive basis financial assistance in the form of grants, loans, and loan guarantees to small shipyards for needed capital improvements.
- In 2008, $10 million was appropriated for the program and the Maritime Administration established the Small Shipyard Assistance Grant Program on January 10, 2008 to administer the grants.
- The Maritime Administration provided a request for grant applications that closed on February 25, 2008 - in that time period the Agency received grant proposals that totaled over $122 million - proving there is a need for this shipyard capital improvements program.
- Most recently, when MARAD solicited requests for grants under the $100 million provided in the 2009 Stimulus, there were over $1.2 billion in grant proposals.
- MARAD administered the shipyard capital improvements grants on a competitive basis ensuring that funds were going to worthy projects and was able to deliver all the grant funding in less than 120 days.
- According to the National Association of Manufacturers, infrastructure spending is one of the best investments the federal government can make in the economy: every dollar spent generates roughly $5.70 in economic activity, and more than 47,000 jobs are created for every $1 billion provided.