Coast Guard Reauthorized to Protect Waterways and Marine Ecosystems | WRDE

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Coast Guard Reauthorized to Protect Waterways and Marine Ecosystems

Posted: Dec 3, 2018 9:46 PM
By Mallory Metzner

(REHOBOTH BEACH, Del.) - Every two years a bill must be passed to reauthorize funding to the United States Coast Guard and modernize its services. "It's an opportunity for us to update your game-plan," says Senator Tom Carper as he addresses members of the United States Coast Guard at the Indian River Inlet Station during a celebration. "It enables them to buy and build ships, cutters, and so forth in a more cost-effective way and modernize their fleet," Carper says. Captain Scott Anderson is the Commanding Officer of the Delaware Bay Sector. He explains, "They've allowed us to do things like better acquisitions and expanded planning for maintenance of our heavy polar ice breaker, and for medical reforms. It really is a change for us and it allows us to do our job better and support our people better." After passing in the Senate with a 94-6 vote earlier this month and passing in the House of Representatives unanimously on Tuesday, the bill will permit this Service to continue through fiscal year 2019. By including a bipartisan compromise negotiated by Senator Carper, known as the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA), the Coast Guard will be enabled to continue protecting waterways and ecosystems here in Delaware and around the nation. Carper explains, "Large ships, they take on water. They balance the ships by either taking on or putting out ballast water, underneath the ship, in the hole of the ship, and when they let the ballast water go back into the water, if it has invasive species, it can contaminate and kill our fish, commercial fishing, and recreational fishing." "When you look at the Delaware River and the coastal area right here, we receive something in the order or 2,600 unique vessel arrivals per year. This is a very busy waterway and how we manage ballast water and water discharge makes a difference here," adds Captain Anderson. Senator Carper has 23 years of military service under his belt. He got a first-hand look at what the Coast Guard does during his time in the Navy when he was serving in Vietnam and Southeast Asia. "They came out in boats, we came out in airplanes, and we worked together. It would be a privilege to work with the Coast Guard forever," says Carper. The Coast Guard Bill will be getting just over $10 Billion each fiscal year 2018 and 2019. Senator Carper says it will be signed this month and that it will take effect immediately.