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Congressman Gene Green

Representing the 29th District of Texas

Texans Introduce Bill to Improve Port Safety

July 29, 2015
Press Release
Waterway Safety Improvement Act grants Army Corps more jurisdiction for Port maintenance

WASHINGTON – On Wednesday, Texas Representatives Gene Green (D-TX-29) and Brian Babin (R-TX-36) introduced the Waterway Safety Improvement Act to enhance navigation and safety in our nation’s ports, including the Port of Houston. This legislation addresses longtime concerns on the Port of Houston waterways with clarifying language and by granting discretionary authority to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)—the entity in charge of Port maintenance.

Rep. Green said, “I am pleased to introduce the Waterway Safety Improvement Act with my colleague Rep. Brian Babin.  Incidents and collisions can have a high cost on the national and local economy, and an even bigger cost on local communities and the environment. The Waterway Safety Improvement Act would enhance efficiency and navigation control by increasing the depth, width and navigation of the area, particularly in turning basins.  We want to ensure the USACE has the authority to complete dredging operations under existing authorities and not have to come back to Congress every time a question arises.”

The USACE plays a key role in America’s well-being by keeping waterways open for navigation and commerce.  Deepening and widening of waterways, such as ports and ship channels for the safe commercial waterborne traffic is a top priority for the Corps. Texas is the largest maritime state in the United States, with over 17,000 deep draft ships transiting the Port of Houston annually. Nationally, the Port of Houston ranks number one in foreign tonnage and is the second largest port in the country by all tonnage. 

“The Waterway Safety Improvement Act will provide much-needed flexibility and resources to ensure that the Army Corps of Engineers can properly maintain our nation’s ports and address any safety issues in a timely manner,” Babin said.  “This legislation will benefit our area tremendously and further strengthen the Port of Houston as a world leader in the maritime industry.  I am proud to lead this effort with my colleague Rep. Gene Green to help improve the safety and reliability of our ports.”