Environmental amendments to Coast Guard bill rejected in House votes

Democrats said the GOP proposal would weaken environmental protection as well as states rights, and offered two amendments aimed at changing the language.

An amendment from Rep. Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.) would have given states more authority to impose protective requirements related to the discharge of ballast water within state waters. But that proposal failed, 174-255.

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A second proposal offered by Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) would strike the language setting new federal standards on ballast water discharge. But this also failed in a 161-237 vote.

The House got about halfway through the various amendments to the Coast Guard bill, and will have to hold votes on remaining amendments later in November, as the House is not in session next week. Other amendment results from Friday follow:

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), to strike language eliminating a current requirement that the Coast Guard appoint an ombudsman in each Coast Guard district. Failed, 174-227.

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), to allow members of Congress to nominate candidates to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Failed, 182-218.

Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.), to give distant water tuna vessels in the western Pacific Ocean the option of using Guam as a U.S. port of call. Passed, 364-37.

Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.), to freeze the Environmental Protection Agencys current vessel discharge regulatory framework for vessels of historical significance. Agreed by voice vote.

In addition, amendments from the following members were accepted en bloc by voice vote:

Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.), technical changes and additions aimed at combating piracy.

Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC), to require the Coast Guard to give priority in procurement contracts to items manufactured in the United States.

Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.), to require the Committee on Marine Transportation Systems to coordinate with local businesses.

Cummings, to expand information needed to waive the Jones Act and allow foreign flag vessels to carry cargo between two U.S. ports.

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), to prohibit the Coast Guard from delegating vessel inspections to groups that also provide these services for state sponsors of terrorism such as Iran, Sudan and Syria.

Rep. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), to give potential contractors a chance to provide information about how a contract would affect U.S. employment.

Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Fla.), to prohibit the Army Corps of Engineers from applying any new peer review studies to the Jacksonville Port dredging project.

Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Wis.), to change the definition of commercial vessel to include all federally owned and operated vessels, exempting military and Coast Guard vessels.