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AWO's annual 'Barge-In' is Wednesday on Capitol Hill

Apr 16, 2013 10:40 PM

More than 100 vessel owners will meet with congressional members

The following is the text of a press release issued by American Waterways Operators:

(ARLINGTON, Va. – The American Waterways Operators, the national trade association representing the tugboat, towboat and barge industry, will be calling on Congress tomorrow, April 17, during AWO’s Barge-In, an annual event that will bring over 100 vessel owners and operators together to advocate for the industry’s legislative priorities.

 

AWO members will be holding more than 130 meetings with their Senators and Representatives. Among the group’s top priorities is securing bipartisan support for needed improvements to the nation’s waterways infrastructure, chiefly passage in this Congress of a Water Resources Development Act with a strong waterways infrastructure component.

 

“Last year’s low water crisis on the Mississippi River brought home the importance of the nation’s water transportation system in moving the nation’s critical cargo,” said Tom Allegretti, AWO’s President and CEO. “We must work to ensure that vital system can meet the country’s needs not only today, but in the future, and passage of WRDA will help accomplish that objective.”

 

Allegretti also noted that AWO members are strongly supportive of a uniform, science-based national framework regulating ballast water and other vessel discharges. Stating that Congress should work to end “a patchwork of conflicting, confusing, and burdensome” federal and state requirements, Allegretti said that “this is a critical priority for our membership and one where we are looking for federal direction and leadership.”

 

In addition to discussing specific priorities with their elected officials, Allegretti also stated that AWO members continue to raise the profile of the tugboat, towboat and barge industry as well as that of the domestic maritime fleet, which is supported by the Jones Act, a longstanding law requiring that U.S. domestic waterborne commerce be carried on U.S.-flagged vessels built in U.S. shipyards and owned and crewed by American citizens. The Jones Act, Allegretti noted, is a tremendous economic generator for the national economy and a necessary law that also supports U.S. national and homeland security.

 

“AWO members, every day, and without a lot of fanfare, play a tremendous role in ensuring the safe and efficient movement of the nation’s critical cargo,” Allegretti said. “The tugboat, towboat and barge industry directly employs tens of thousands of workers while supporting hundreds of thousands more. This industry is woven into the fabric of the nation, and we want to ensure that Congress understands its importance and inherent value.”

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