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Johansen Urges Coast Guard to Ease Restrictions on Small Vessel Cargo Regulations

Resolution would expand transport options for rural ports while emphasizing safety

Friday, February 26, 2010, Juneau, Alaska – This week, House Majority Leader Kyle Johansen, R-Ketchikan, introduced House Joint Resolution 47, urging the federal government to ease restrictions on small vessels, which are crucial carriers to isolated communities and businesses in Alaska.

Federal law currently prohibits small vessels in Alaska to carry fuel, cargo and passengers simultaneously, which Leader Johansen says is unrealistic due to Alaska’s unique geography. “There are places in the state that are inaccessible by large barges and must be reached by smaller vessels,” Johansen said. “These restrictions impede the process of delivering supplies and transporting people to different places in Alaska.” The resolution encourages several federal parties, from the United States Department of Homeland Security to the United States Coast Guard, to adopt regulations that would allow small vessels in Alaska to carry all three items concurrently. It also urges the United States Coast Guard to adopt regulations stating that small vessels transporting fuel should be constructed of aluminum, for safety and affordability purposes.

HJR 47 has been referred to the House Transportation Committee.

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