Bills would conduct studies to assess Coast Guard resource needs to carry out its key missions
Washington (July 18, 2019) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass), Ranking Member of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Security, today introduced two bills commissioning studies of the Coast Guard’s critical resource needs for carrying out its eleven official missions.
The first piece of legislation requires the Coast Guard to assess its installations and infrastructure that are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, and report the mitigations necessary to increase resiliency and ensure these installations remain operational. Congress requested a similar report of the Department of Defense last year, which revealed that over two-thirds of the military’s critical installations are threatened by climate impacts, including flooding and wildfires. Senator Markey’s bill is a companion to H.R. 1322, introduced by Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18).
The second bill, co-sponsored by Senator Rick Scott (R-Fla), would require the Coast Guard to coordinate with the Secretary of Defense and other relevant agencies to identify and report on resource gaps that contribute to low interdiction rates of illicit drugs smuggled into the United States by sea. The Coast Guard has actionable intelligence on over 80 percent of drug movements in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and southern maritime border, but interdicts less than ten percent of maritime non-commercial smuggling of those drugs. This bill would clarify what assets, personnel, or other resources would be needed to close this interdiction gap.
“The Coast Guard is indispensable for keeping our coastal communities and marine environment safe, so it’s critical that they have all the information they need to successfully and securely carry out their diverse missions,” said Senator Markey. “Congress must be aware of the Coast Guard’s resource needs to ensure resilience to the challenges of the climate crisis and interdict the drugs they can see entering the US on the high seas. I look forward to working with my colleagues on a bipartisan basis to include this legislation in the Coast Guard Reauthorization Act of 2019.”
In January 2018, Senator Markey’s INTERDICT Act, a fentanyl interdiction bill, was signed into law by President Trump. The law provides $65 million to U.S. Customs and Border Protection for the latest technology to detect and intercept fentanyl and other synthetic opioids at the border.