American Waterways Operators Annual Report 2017 2017AnnualReport - Page 10

SAFEGUARDING FEDERAL AUTHORITY OVER VESSEL OPERATIONS In 2017, AWO worked to ensure that the U.S. Coast Guard maintains primary authority over vessel operations, and to resist unconstitutional efforts by states to usurp federal authority over vessels operating in interstate commerce. In Maine, AWO and coalition partners defeated a bill that would have imposed unsafe bunkering requirements on towing vessels, while in Washington state AWO and its allies prevented passage of legislation that would have imposed duplicative Certificates of Financial Responsibility requirements and expanded tug escort rules. AWO also worked with the Coast Guard and the Department of Justice to take steps toward resuming stalled litigation challenging unconstitutional state laws in Massachusetts. PREVENTING ANTI-COMPETITIVE PRACTICES In 2017, AWO defended American harbor tug operators against anticompetitive practices by large foreign shipping alliances. AWO testified before Congress to highlight the dangers of foreign carrier alliances leveraging their market concentration ■ 8 THE AMERICAN WATERWAYS OPERATORS power to negotiate collectively with domestic maritime service providers and force them to accept disadvantageous terms of service, ultimately securing agreement on legislation to amend the Shipping Act to prohibit such anticompetitive practices. MAINTAINING WATERWAYS RELIABILITY The tugboat, towboat and barge industry depends on a reliable waterways infrastructure to supply the nation with vital commodities that power the American economy. In 2017, AWO worked with coalition partners, including Waterways Council, Inc., to ensure that U.S. waterways remain open for business. AWO managed the River Industry Executive Task Force to partner with the Coast Guard and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to keep maritime commerce flowing; led the UnLock Our Jobs coalition in preventing navigation- impeding structural measures at Brandon Road Lock & Dam; chaired the Coalition to Protect the Missouri River to ensure that threatened and endangered species recovery plans do not impact navigation on the Mississippi and Missouri rivers; and led a regional coalition to complete an economic impact study of Seattle’s Ballard Locks to demonstrate the need for long overdue major maintenance.