The U.S. House of Representatives
passed the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2011 yesterday. It
authorizes $8.4-billion in spending for Fiscal Year 2012, and slightly more in
both 2013 and 2014. It includes several provisions benefiting the Coast Guard
The legislation would decommission
the nation's two heavy-duty icebreakers, and allow the Coast Guard to lease
The legislation would also ask the
Coast Guard to report back to Congress on what it needs to expand its presence
in the high arctic, such as forward operating bases, infrastructure and
Under the bill, Coast Guard housing
in Alaska would be scrutinized, because Young says he has had numerous
complaints from service-members regarding the living conditions in the state.
He wants the Coast Guard to assess current housing and prioritize their
The last bit of language Young
included in the bill would authorize the Coast Guard to transfer ownership of
the decommissioned cutter Storis to a non-profit group in Juneau, which wants
to turn it into a museum. Before it was retired, the Storis was the oldest ship
in the fleet, having served as a light ice-breaker in World War II and several
decades on patrol in Alaska. Its last base before decommissioning was Kodiak.
In other, non-Coast Guard related
provisions in the bill, the Maritime Lien Reform Act would prohibit placement
of maritime liens on fishing permits. Young said it would protect the
livelihoods of Alaskan fishermen.