Provisions in Defense Bill confirm all U.S. laws apply to the Outer Continental Shelf, clarify the circumstances under which a Jones Act waiver can be issued, and affirm that a “strong commercial maritime industry makes the United States more secure”
WASHINGTON — The American Maritime Partnership, the voice of the domestic maritime industry, salutes Congress for passing the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) (H.R. 6395), which includes the most consequential maritime legislation enacted in many years.
Most significant is a provision confirming that all American laws, including the Jones Act, apply to renewable energy development on America’s Outer Continental Shelf. By eliminating uncertainty over this issue, Congress will help unleash robust investment and job creation in the American Maritime industry tied to clean offshore energy development.
The NDAA also clarifies the terms and procedures that apply in the extremely rare circumstances under which an emergency administrative Jones Act waiver can be issued. In particular, a national defense waiver must be tied to a legitimate national defense need, non-defense waivers will be time-limited, and all waivers will now be subject to public reporting requirements by any foreign vessel using the waiver to operate in American domestic markets.
Finally, two separate “Sense of Congress” statements reaffirm strong Congressional support for the American Maritime industry and for the Jones Act. As the 100-year anniversary of the Jones Act comes to a close, these provisions strengthen American Maritime and reaffirm Congress’s support for the industry and the 650,000 American jobs it produces.
“As we end this most challenging year, we are encouraged by Congress’s recognition of the contributions American Maritime makes to our security and to a healthy and resilient American economy,” said Michael Roberts, President of the American Maritime Partnership. “We are also grateful for the tangible progress made in this bill to reinforce the requirement that those who do work in our home waters must hire American workers and obey American laws. We look forward to building on that progress in the next Congress.”
AMP also recognized the outstanding leadership and continued strong support of more than two dozen Members of Congress who developed and promoted the maritime provisions in the NDAA. “Their leadership was absolutely critical in getting this important legislation over the finish line,” said Roberts. “We are extremely very grateful for their commitment to help maintain and grow the American Maritime industry.”
The two “Sense of Congress” statements included in the NDAA provide as follows:
“It is the Sense of Congress that United States coastwise trade laws promote a strong domestic maritime industry, which supports the national security and economic vitality of the United States and the efficient operation of the United States transportation system; and a strong commercial maritime industry makes the United States more secure.” (Sec. 3522)
“It is the Sense of Congress that the maritime industry of the United States contributes to the Nation’s economic prosperity and national security.” (Sec. 8403)
Other provisions in the bill also advance the interests of American Maritime, including one clarifying the coastwise eligibility of existing LNG tankers for domestic trades.
American Maritime Partnership (AMP) is the voice of the U.S. domestic maritime industry, a pillar of our nation’s economic, national, and homeland security. More than 40,000 American vessels built in American shipyards, crewed by American mariners, and owned by American companies, operate in our waters 24-hours a day, seven days a week, and this commerce sustains nearly 650,000 American jobs, $41.6 billion in labor compensation, and more than $154.8 billion in annual economic output. Learn more by visiting www.americanmaritimepartnership.com and tune in to episodes of the American Maritime Podcast here.