(March 7, 2006) -- The chair of the House Armed Services Committee, CA Congressman Duncan Hunter (R., El Cajon) and the chair of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities, Congressman Jim Saxton (R., NJ) have announced they will introduce a bill on March 8 to "protect key components of the national defense critical infrastructure" by requiring any corporation that "owns, manages or operates defense critical infrastructure to be majority owned by American citizens."
In a "Dear Colleague" letter, the Congressmembers say their bill, titled the "National Defense Critical Infrastructure Protection Act of 2006," will define critical infrastructure as "any system or asset -- physical or virtual -- that is so vital to the United States that the incapacity or destruction of such system or asset would have a debilitating effect on national security, economic security, or public health and safety."
The legislation would also require "the inspection of all cargo coming into the United States by an appropriate officer or employee of the Directorate of Border and Transportation Security or other appropriate entity."
The bill presumably has implications for the LB-L.A. port complex. According to the Port of LB's March TieLines newsletter, the PoLB leases seven container terminals:
- Pier A is leased to SSA Marine of Seattle and Mediterranean Shipping Co. of Switzerland.
- Pier C is leased to SSA Marine and Matson Navigation Co. of Oakland. CA.
- United Terminals at Piers D & E is leased to Hyundai Merchant Marine of South Korea.
- The Long Beach Container Terminal at Pier F is leased to Orient Overseas Container Line of Hong Kong.
- The International Transportation Service (ITS) terminal at Piers G & J is leased to "K" Line of Japan.
- Pacific Container Terminal at Pier J is leased to SSA Marine and China Ocean Shipping Co. (COSCO) of China.
- The Total Terminals International facility at Pier T is leased to Marine Terminals Corp. of Oakland, CA and Hanjin Shipping Co. of South Korea.
In their letter, Congressmembers Hunter and Saxton write in part, "It is clear to us that the current interagency Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) review process does not adequately provide the national security safeguards and that the economic and commercial implications apparently supercede national security considerations."
The letter states it would also "halt the takeover bid by Dubai Ports World to manage U.S. ports" and "clearly mandate a 45 day investigation ("Byrd amendment") into transactions that may have national security implications."
In addition, it would add several factors -- such as the domestic impact on domestic production needed for homeland security -- to be considered furing the CFIUS process.
The letter says, "We believe that this legislation will close the gaps in the current process and ensure that the management of key critical infrastructure will remain under United States control."
It wasn't immediately clear if the proposed legislation (text not yet unveiled) might affect a proposed Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility which a LB-based Mitsubishi subsidiary and a Concoco subsidiary are partnering in seeking to build and operate in the Port of LB.
News of the proposed legislation made national and international news on March 7. Reuters: Lawmaker Tries To Block Port Deal
The story was also reported in the March 7 afternoon news cycle on the major cable news networks.
Reaction is pending as we post and will be posted as received. Check back with this page and also check with LBReport.com front page (www.lbreport.com) for developments.