2 major Rubio provisions on veterans, small commercial vessels included
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), the Ranking Member of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and the Coast Guard, today welcomed the Senate’s unanimous passage of legislation to reauthorize the U.S. Coast Guard through FY 2015.
Among the legislation’s measures are two provisions Rubio championed that would make it easier for veterans to be hired in the maritime industry, as well as a three year exemption for small commercial vessels from unnecessary regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
“Florida's maritime industry is a national leader in economic opportunity and job creation, and we need to do all we can to eliminate unnecessary job obstacles that veterans face when transitioning back to civilian careers in this sector,” said Rubio. “Including this pro-veterans policy in this legislation is something that will make a real difference to our returning heroes.
“We should also act to make sure small commercial fishing vessels have some relief for the coming year that the EPA won’t crush their businesses with burdensome regulations,” added Rubio. “I remain committed to passing broader legislation that addresses more of the problems the EPA is unnecessarily causing commercial vessel owners, but this at least provides some temporary relief until we can pass a permanent solution next year.”
More specifically, the legislation includes a Rubio-championed provision that will streamline the mariner certification process for veterans by allowing for relevant military experience to count towards the certification. It also requires the Cabinet secretary overseeing the Coast Guard to maximize the extent to which U.S. Armed Forces service, training and qualifications are creditable toward meeting internal seafarer standards.
On November 19, Rubio introduced legislation to provide one year regulatory relief to small commercial vessels and then worked to successfully include this three year exemption in the Coast Guard Reauthorization Act. In the new Congress, Rubio intends to introduce longer term relief based on The Vessel Incidental Discharge Act, which he introduced earlier this year. The Vessel Incidental Discharge Act includes a permanent exemption from EPA regulations for small commercial vessel owners and also provides regulatory relief for larger commercial vessel owners.