Legislative Update: Port Infrastructure, FTA, Energy
Port Infrastructure. The Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Reform Act (S. 1488, introduced June 29 by Sen. Murray, D-Wash., and H.R. 3152, introduced June 29 by Rep. Reichert, R-Wash.) would ensure that all of the money collected through the harbor maintenance tax each year is returned directly to ports to improve infrastructure. Murray said this legislation would also address the diversion of U.S.-bound cargo to ports in Canada and Mexico, which do not charge an HMT, by ensuring that U.S. donor ports (those that receive less from the HMT trust fund than they contribute) can access funding for rebates to shippers transporting cargo through their ports.
FTA with Turkey. H.R. 3146 (introduced June 29 by Rep. Mooney, R-W.Va.) would direct the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to initiate negotiations with Turkey to seek to enter into a bilateral free trade agreement that, among other things, promotes trade in natural resources. The bill notes that Turkey’s trade volume with the European Union was $150 billion in 2014 as opposed to just $19.4 billion with the U.S., reflecting “a significant opportunity to improve the free flow of goods and services.”
Energy. The House Energy and Commerce Committee has reported out the Promoting Cross-Border Energy Infrastructure Act (H.R. 2883, introduced June 12 by Rep. Mullin, R-Okla.). This bill would establish a more uniform, transparent, and modern process to authorize the construction, connection, operation, and maintenance of international border-crossing facilities for the import and export of oil and natural gas and the transmission of electricity.