Legislative Update: Ports of Entry, Paper Imports, Natural Gas Exports
Ports of Entry. The Emergency Port of Entry Personnel and Infrastructure Funding Act (H.R. 5619, introduced April 25 by Rep. O’Rourke, D-Texas) would direct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to hire, train, and assign 5,000 new CBP officers and 350 support personnel at ports of entry. It would also authorize the Department of Homeland Security to make improvements at existing ports of entry and construct new ports on the southern and northern borders that will increase trade and enhance security.
Paper Imports. H.R. 5611 (introduced April 25 by Rep. DeFazio, D-Ore.) would prohibit imports of paper products (i.e., articles classified under any heading or subheading in HTSUS chapters 47 or 48) not manufactured in accordance with requirements as least as stringent as those under the Clean Air Act and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act. Violators would be liable for civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation in addition to any other applicable criminal or civil penalty.
Natural Gas. The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the Ensuring Small Scale LNG Certainty and Access Act (H.R. 4606, introduced Dec. 11 by Rep. Johnson, R-Ohio), which would require applications under the Natural Gas Act for the import or export of small volumes of natural gas to be approved without modification or delay. A committee press release said this bill would also open new markets for U.S. exports in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America as well as preserve existing environmental laws to ensure that small-scale export facilities receive the proper review.