U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) praised Senate passage today of legislation to reauthorize Coast Guard operations to support the brave men and women who put themselves in harm’s way every single day. This important legislation also includes the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA), which will benefit Kentucky and its 13,000 maritime jobs.
“America calls on our Coast Guard to protect our ports and coasts, to safeguard the shipping lanes that enable American commerce, and to stem the tide of illegal drugs before they reach our shores,” Senator McConnell said. “By passing this bipartisan legislation, the Senate fulfilled an important promise to some of the brave men and women who have taken an oath to keep us safe. Aspects of this legislation are particularly important to states like my home state of Kentucky – the heart of our nation’s inland waterways system.”
“For too long, maritime workers have struggled under a complex system of overlapping and duplicative regulations. They make normal shipping functions needlessly difficult, including the incidental discharge of ballast water. A confusing web of rules from states, the Coast Guard, and the EPA leave operators to face constant uncertainty — and lead to higher costs,” Senator McConnell added. “This bipartisan legislation replaces the existing system with a uniform, cost-effective, and national standard enforced by the Coast Guard. For the 13,000 Kentuckians whose jobs depend on our state’s inland waterways, this provision can help cut costs, promote efficiency, and protect our natural waters.”
“I am thankful for the leadership and support of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in getting the VIDA legislation through the Senate and in recognizing its importance to the inland waterways industry, which plays a vital role in our nation’s economy and in particular the Commonwealth of Kentucky. VIDA fixes a burdensome patchwork system of regulations and provides clear and consistent regulations for inland waterways operators while maintaining the high standards of environmental protection under the direction of the Coast Guard. Once again, Leader McConnell has stepped up for the nation and the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” said Matt Ricketts, President & CEO of Crounse Corporation in Paducah, Kentucky.
The legislation now goes to the House for approval and then will be sent to President Trump for his signature.