Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley said today they want the U.S. Coast Guard reauthorization bill to keep open permanently the Newport air station on the Oregon Coast.
The Oregon senators made their views known in a bipartisan letter also signed by Sens. Tim Scott and Lindsey Graham (both R-S.C.).
“We remain extremely concerned about Coast Guard air facilities in the high-use ports of Newport, Oregon and Charleston, South Carolina,” the four lawmakers wrote Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation; the committee’s ranking member Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.); Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), chair of the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure; and the House committee’s ranking member, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.).
“Newport is home to Oregon’s largest commercial fishing fleet and several National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration vessels,” they wrote. “Charleston is one of America’s top cargo ports and also boasts important tourism and fishing industries.”
The letter noted the House included language in the bipartisan Coast Guard Reauthorization Act of 2017 and in the recently passed Department of Homeland Security Authorization Act, to keep the Newport and Charleston, S.C. facilities open in recognition of their life-saving functions. As discussion continues about the final reauthorization bill for the Coast Guard, the senators pressed for that language to remain.
“As you continue these discussions, we urge you in the strongest terms to retain this language,” they wrote, “and in any final agreement.”