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November 15, 2005

Senators introduce GreenLane cargo security bill

U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) today announced the introduction of the GreenLane Maritime Cargo Security Act.

Murray, a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, and Collins, Chairman of the full Senate Homeland Security Committee, co-authored the bill to improve the security cargo containers entering America's ports. Senators Norm Coleman (R-MN) and Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) are original cosponsors of this legislation.

The Murray-Collins bill builds on the lessons from the 9/11 Commission, GAO investigations, and other reports to protect against the human and economic costs of a terrorist attack through our ports.

The GreenLane Maritime Cargo Security Act seeks to

  • establish a "GreenLane" comprised of supply chain participants who voluntarily meet the highest level of security. It allows security services to better identify and respond to potential threats and provides "real incentives" to importers to enhance their supply chain security measures.
  • it sets minimum security standards for all cargo containers entering the U.S. and requirements that strengthen current cargo security programs.
  • it establishes an Office of Cargo Security Policy to ensure accountability and coordination of cargo security policies, procedures and regulations at the Department of Homeland Security and with other agencies.
  • it also establishes Joint Operations Centers to ensure a coordinated, measured response and the resumption and flow of commerce in the event of an incident or heightened national security threat level.
  • the Act also Authorizes Port Security Grants, the Container Security Initiative and C-TPAT.
  • You can download the text of the legislation here.

    A statement issued by Murray and Collins says that America's current cargo security regime was built pre-9/11, with an emphasis on efficiency but not on security.

    "At present," says the statement, "opportunities for terrorists to tamper with cargo exist at every step along the supply chain. Terrorist organizations could use containers to smuggle weapons or terrorists into the United States, or could turn a container into a weapon by detonating a conventional, chemical, biological or nuclear weapon within a container once it arrives on American shores."

    "Right now, there is a gaping hole in America's security when it comes to the cargo entering our ports each day," Murray said.

    "To protect our nation we have to develop a cargo security system that closes vulnerabilities, provides a way to resume trade after an incident, and maintains the efficient flow of commerce. Our GreenLane bill addresses these issues, taking into account the input of all the key stakeholders and experts, and I want to thank Senator Collins for her hard work and cooperation in helping to write this bill and get it introduced in the Senate."

    "Coming from a state with three international cargo ports," said Senator Collins, "I am keenly aware of the importance of our seaports to our national economy and to the communities in which they are located. In addition to our ports' economic significance, the link between maritime security and our national security is evident."

    "The global maritime industry is crucial to our nation's economy, and our cargo ports are undeniably on the front lines of the war against terrorism. This legislation sets clear goals for improving the security of this vital sector, and it provides the resources to meet those goals."