Legislation would increase port security

House Homeland Security Committee

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A new bill would increase port security through measures including running all cargo containers through radiation portal monitors, providing risk-based funding through a dedicated port security grant and checking all port employees with access to secure areas against terrorist watch lists, according to a press release.

The bipartisan legislation, called the Security and Accountability for Every (SAFE) Port Act, was introduced March 14. The bill has 46 co-sponsors.

“A dedicated grant program for port security will not only protect domestic assets, it will enhance international border security through measures implemented both abroad and at U.S. maritime ports of entry,” said Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.), who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee’s Economic Security, Infrastructure Protection and Cybersecurity subcommittee.

Lungren, one of the co-sponsors, is scheduled to hold a hearing on the legislation March 16.

The bill also points to the need to strengthen the security of foreign ports and to improve the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism program. That program gives participating companies expedited clearance of their shipments and other benefits if they make specified security improvements.

In addition, the SAFE Port Act calls for the improvement of the Automated Targeting System, designed to identify high-risk containers before they reach U.S. ports, and several other programs designed to improve container security. The bill also directs the Homeland Security Department to conduct additional research and testing on technology integration, data sharing and access control.

The bill is a companion to a Senate version, called the GreenLane Maritime Cargo Security Act, which was introduced by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) last November.



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