TAX CONFERENCE

The recently enacted "American Jobs Creation Act" gives significant tax breaks to a number of U.S. industries--including shipping.

MARINE LOG and BLANK ROME will present a senior level seminar CHANGES IN U.S. TAXATION OF SHIPPING INCOME in Stamford, Conn. on April 5 & 6, 2004

Make sure you know how the new tax rules work!

February 02, 2005

House members seek GAO LNG probe

Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-MA), a senior Democratic Member of the House Energy and Commerce and Homeland Security Committees, has released the text of a bipartisan letter asking the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the independent investigative arm of the Congress, to initiate an investigation into the vulnerabilities of liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier vessels and other maritime energy transport and infrastructure to attacks carried out by terrorists.

"We know from the Sandia report that the potential hazard posed by a terrorist attack against an LNG tanker in Boston harbor could be quite large," said Rep. Markey, who helped organize the letter to GAO.

Rep. Markey added, "What we don't know is whether the federal government is doing everything it could be doing to mitigate this risk and to assist state and local governments in addressing post-9/11 concerns about the terrorist threat to LNG and other maritime energy transport."

"For example, there has been no real examination of potential threats to liquefied petroleum gas or crude oil tankers, or to energy infrastructure. Our request is aimed at getting the GAO to undertake a comprehensive investigation into these matters."

The lawmakers' letter was signed by Rep. Markey, along with Representative Joe Barton (R-TX), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Representative Christopher Cox (R-CA), Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Representative John Dingell (D-MI), the Ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), the Ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security Committee.

The bipartisan letter asks the GAO to "conduct a review of the vulnerabilities of foreign and domestic maritime energy transport, infrastructure to terrorist attack, and efforts by governmental and private sector entities to reduce these vulnerabilities through enhanced security, planning, and other prevention, preparedness, and response activities."

The letter makes reference to reports that LNG tankers under the Algerian flag "were involved in drug and illegal alien smuggling [into the LNG terminal in Everett, Massachusetts] and these illegal alines may have had an indirect association with those indicted for the 'Millennium PlotÉ"

It asks GAO to respond to a series of questions regarding potential terrorist attacks against the U.S. maritime energy transportation system (especially crude oil, LNG, and LPG carrying tankers), security and environmental plans for responding to a terrorist attack, plans for mitigating the economic impact of such an attack, and recommendations regarding any additional tests or studies needed to further understand the risk of terrorist attack on maritime energy infrastructure and potential health and safety consequences."

Rep. Markey concluded, "This GAO study is the next step in ensuring that we are doing everything we should be doing to protect LNG terminals and other energy infrastructure from a terrorist attack."

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