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    In Depth/Perspective

    How Long Beach City Hall Quietly Worked, Or Let Others Work, To Skew Or Kill Port-Related Homeland Security Legislation

    Introductory Perspective

    (Sept. 10, 2006) -- The 9/11 attacks are not part of the past. They are part of the present because those who attacked us once are working to attack us again.

    Those attacks will kill as many of us and our families, and inflict as much damage on our country, as those in government will allow.

    As the fifth anniversary of 9/11 approaches, government and industry officials say they're working to prevent another attack. Many surely are...and with success thus far.

    But the record indicates that public officials and entities of the City of Long Beach -- California's fifth largest city, operating part of the nation's largest port complex -- failed to support, and in some cases oversaw spending public money that helped obstruct, efforts to provide the public and the Port with resources for greater security.

    Those decisions were made behind closed doors, without public discussion or openly voted actions by City of Long Beach governing bodies...despite California's "open meetings" law.

    The actions affected three key pieces of legislation:

    • HR 494 by Cong. Dana Rohrabacher (R., HB-LB-PV), which provided for locally decided, industry paid homeland security container fees. The Port of LB's Washington, DC lobbyist publicly took credit for helping kill the bill, an action executed without a public vote on that policy by LB's Board of Harbor Commissioners or the LB City Council.

    • SB 760 (renumbered SB 927) by State Senator Alan Lowenthal (D., LB-SP-PV), endorsed by the City of LB with the Port publicly neutral. This legislation passed both houses of the state legislature and as we post awaits the Governor's approval or veto. If approved, it will almost certainly face an industry court challenge because the Port of LB's lobbyist helped kill the federal bill (above) which could have mooted salient legal issues (at minimum toward the security aspects of the Lowenthal bill). Industry interests are now urging a veto by Governor, citing the federal issues that the Rohrabacher bill (defeated with help from the Port of LB's lobbyist) would have cured.

    • HR 4954, federal legislation labeled by supporters as the "SAFE Port" Act. The House version of the bill passed this spring and is set for debate in the Senate in the coming days. While the measure was pending in the House, the Port of LB hosted a meeting with key House members, giving LB and L.A. Port officialdom an opportunity to influence those guiding the bill's provisions. Most LB elected officials were kept out of the loop and (with few exceptions) have remained mute.

      Meanwhile, the "American Ass'n of Port Authorities," a lobbying group in which the Ports of LB and L.A. are members, worked to defeat a House amendment to the "SAFE Port" bill (failed 202-222) that would have required the inspection of all incoming cargo containers.

    On Monday September 11, 2006 the U.S. Senate is scheduled to take up its version of the SAFE Port Act. The Senate version of the bill (subject to amendments) offers LB residents significantly less than what Cong. Rohrabacher proposed regarding local authority on container fees in 2005 and 202 House Democrats voted to support regarding the 100% inspection on incoming cargo containers in May 2006.

    [Current Senate summary text]

    Section 121: Domestic radiation detection and imaging. Requires the [Homeland Security] Secretary to develop a strategy for deployment of radiation detection capabilities and ensures that by December 2007, all containers entering the U.S., through the busiest 22 seaports, shall be examined for radiation. Requires DHS to submit a report of the strategic plan developed and to implement the strategy nationwide within three years. Requires DHS to submit a separate plan for the development of equipment to detect WMD threats at all U.S. ports of entry.

    Section 122: Port security user fee study. Requires DHS to study the need for and feasibility of oceanborne and port-related transportation security user fees to be collected for funding port security improvements. Requires DHS to submit a report detailing the results of the study, analysis of current customs fees and duties collected that are dedicated to security, comparison of comparable fees imposed in ports of Canada and Mexico, assessment of the impact on competitiveness of U.S. ports, and recommendations based on findings.

    As we post on September 10, 2006, the City of Long Beach's elected City Council have yet to take a public position on these matters. Until they do, CA's fifth largest city will not be part of the national debate or discussion on these issues...leaving the field to special interests and their lobbyists. reported these stories in real time as they happened. We will continue reporting these issues in detail, because we believe they are of local and national importance...not just on the 9/11 anniversary, but beyond.

    Killing federal legislation to give local ports clear power to levy security-related container fee

    E.Del Smith 8/8/04On August 8, 2005, the Port of LB's senior Washington, D.C. lobbyist, E. Del Smith, publicly indicated to LB's Board of Harbor Commissioners that he had helped defeat legislation, authored by LB area Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R., HB-LB-PV), thhat would have neutralized problematic federal arguments to local port authorities levying a security-related fee on containers.

    "There has been an effort to increase container fees, a piece of legislation that we helped defeat just recently," Mr. Smith reported.

    E.Del Smith 8/8/04Mr. Smith's remarkable statement drew no public response from Harbor Commissioners. To our knowledge, the Port's non-elected (Mayor chosen, Council approved) governing body had not previously agendized, or publicly discussed or publicly voted to oppose the legislation.

    Congressman Rohrabacher, whose district includes the Ports of LB and L.A., had for a second time introduced a bill (HR 494) to add verbiage to an existing federal law that lets non-federal interests (Ports) levy harbor fees for specified purposes. Rohrabacher's legislation would have permitted, but not required, Ports to put fees on containers fees to help fund infrastructure and security items, arguably easing the cost for taxpayers.

    On August 9, one day after reported that Port lobbyist Smith took credit for helping kill the bill, he reiterated and defended that position before the LB City Council. City management, with Council approval, also retains Smith to advocate the City's interests in Washington, D.C.

    The Rohrabacher container fee measure would have neutralized a number of problematic federal legal issues regarding a state container fee bill (SB 760 by State Senator Alan Lowenthal). The LB City Council had endorsed Lowenthal's bill...and evenue from it would be used in part for port security purposes. Killing Rohrabacher's bill also ran counter to City Hall's frequently stated principle of local control (it would have increased local control by enabling a locally-decided security related container fee).

    8th district Councilwoman Rae Gabelich raised these matters with lobbyist Smith:

    Councilwoman Rae Gabelich: [to Mr. Smith]...You reportedly said yesterday in your presentation to the Harbor Commission, that "there has been an effort to increase container fees, a piece of legislation that we helped defeat just recently." Yet that was part of the 710 Oversight Recommendations to use those fees for local environmental protection. And so my question to you is how can you serve two masters? How do you decide when you go to represent a bill, whose position takes priority?

    Mr. Smith: ...Our job is to work with the feasibility of a bill that we have found or been directed to execute. No conflict of interest between the Port and the City. We helped defeat the bill because the bill was ill-drafted. It was never gonna pass because it would have had to have the concurrence of all the seaports in the United States. There are already 125 fees on port already, taxes, the Congress would have never allowed this.

    And most of all, we were concerned in our office that, forget the Port and the City, the state of California would have feasibly been able to dip down, levy a fee on a container and take the money back to Sacramento.

    And it was with those factors that we joined the Port industry in defeating the bill. I'm hoping this answers your question, perhaps it doesn't.


    Mr. Smith: [after intervening colloquy]...I want you to hear from my colleague Sante Esposito who of course used to be with the Committee of Congress and wrote these bills...

    Mr. Esposito: In legislation the devil's in the details and Del is absolutely right. This particular issue was opposed by the administration, opposed by OMB, opposed by the American Port Association and opposed by the authorizing committee. The proposal would have imposed a fee but then made that money available to the states to decide how they wanted to spend it and I don't think that's what any port wants to have happen.

    That doesn't necessarily mean that the container fee issue, approached in a different way, wouldn't work but this particular proposal would not work, and it was defeated in two Congresses overwhelmingly on a bipartisan basis.

    Councilwoman Gabelich: You understand that the issue is that we've got to protect the communities that line the freeways that serve the Port and there isn't any money. So we have to find a way to do that, and so maybe with your help we can put something better together...

    A month earlier, without audible or visible support from the City of Long Beach, and with the quiet opposition of the Port of LB's lobbyists, the Rohrabacher bill reached the House floor. It held the key to removing federal impediments to the security aspects of the city-supported Lowenthal bill. It failed on a 111-310 vote.

    Among local members of Congress, Ed Royce (R., El Dorado-OC) and Loretta Sanchez (OC) voted "yes;" Juanita Millender-McDonald (D., Carson-LB) and Linda Sanchez (D., Lakewood) voted "no."

    Below, from the Congressional Record are some excerpts of what took place on the House floor:

    Congressional Record, House of Representatives, July 14, 2005

       Mr. ROHRABACHER ...I rise to offer an amendment to H.R. 2864 that will expand the scope of section 208 in the Water Resources Development Act of 1986. My amendment will allow our ports to levy a fee on containers and use that fee to pay for security and infrastructure at the ports.

       The Rohrabacher amendment will facilitate the effort to modernize and secure American ports. In my district, the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles handle approximately 44 percent of all of the goods delivered to American shores, yet they are in constant need of revenue for facilities, improvements and upgrades to roads and bridges and rails.

       Our marine terminals are invaluable commerce infrastructure, not only to our country but also for the many foreign manufacturers who sell primarily in the U.S. market.

    This is the portal through which foreign manufacturers deliver their goods to our markets. Yet these manufacturers provide almost none of the costs of operation or upkeep of these vital assets. This system, as it currently operates, is a subsidy to foreign manufacturers, paid by the American taxpayer, concealing the true cost of imported goods. What we have here is all backwards. What we are in effect doing, as the system works, is putting a tariff on products that are made in America.

       Section 208 of WRDA currently allows ports to charge fees on tonnage and use those fees to fund infrastructure improvements. This section is hardly, if ever, invoked by the ports to raise funds due to the fact that it is complicated to collect and tends to be too unwieldy to be used effectively.

       My amendment allows the ports to use a simpler and more efficient method: Fees on containers. The market-based fee in my amendment is simple to implement and to track, should be more widely used to raise funds for port projects. My amendment will also permit these fees to be used for homeland security projects at the ports, as well as infrastructure.

       And let us be frank, the security threats that emanate from our ports come from foreign cargo. Why are we paying for their threat? If they want access to our markets, overseas manufacturers should pay the cost to ensure the safety of their deliveries. For too long the funding of marine terminals has been a one-way street with the American taxpayer footing the bill for the factory owners of Shanghai, Beijing and Macau while American manufacturers have been subsidizing their own competition.

       Our port facilities should have the freedom to levy a market-based container fee which will provide new revenue and make our system more equitable to the American taxpayer and American manufacturers. The Rohrabacher amendment is the most efficient way to achieve these goals. The Rohrabacher amendment says we are on the side of the American taxpayer, and those people who run overseas to manufacture in China and elsewhere should be paying their part of the cost to make sure that that system, our port system, is working.

       I would expect that people on both sides of the aisle would be supporting this. Unfortunately, our port systems, our ports, the people who run them, would rather come to the American taxpayer and get stipends from us rather than asking for a just fee to those manufacturers in China to pay for some of the costs that are required to ship their goods through our ports.

       This is an American versus foreign vote here. Whose side are we on? Who is going to pay the bill? Right now if our people go overseas and build their manufacturing plants, we end up subsidizing that by permitting them low-cost ways of getting their goods right into our market and undercutting the American producers who stayed behind to hire American people.

       I would ask people on both sides of the aisle to seriously consider this. Do not listen to the ports who simply want more taxpayer subsidies. Let us let the people who use this system, the foreign manufacturers, pay their fair share.

       Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

       Mr. DUNCAN. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

       The gentleman from California is one of the best friends I have in this Congress, and I certainly have great admiration and respect for him, and I sympathize with everything that he has just said; but I must regretfully state the position of the committee at this point, which is in opposition to this amendment.

       The civil works program of the Army Corps of Engineers provides Federal assistance for dredging entrance channels and harbors and the Department of Homeland Security now offers grants for security projects.

       But, generally, capital improvements to port infrastructure are a non-Federal responsibility. The gentleman's amendment would permit a non-Federal interest, which could be the port authority or the State generally, to collect a fee per container that moves through the harbor and to use those funds for security purposes or for infrastructure projects within the port or any transportation infrastructure outside the harbor.

       First, if the goal is to help ports, this amendment is unnecessary. Ports can already charge fees for services under the authority of section 208 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1986, which they can use to help them with the cost of security and port infrastructure.

       Second, this amendment goes too far by allowing the collected funds to be used for transportation projects outside the port. This could mean potentially a State fee paid by shippers of containers at ports being used to pay for highway and rail projects elsewhere in the State. This is why the American Association of Port Authorities and even the gentleman's home port of LA/Long Beach oppose this amendment.

       The Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment held a hearing on this bill in November 2003. The American Association of Port Authorities, the Waterfront Coalition, and the World Shipping Council all testified in opposition to this proposal.

       This amendment is the same as the amendment the gentleman from California brought to the House floor last Congress. It was defeated by a vote of 359-65. The committee believes that the ports can and should charge whatever fees they believe are necessary to cover their security needs and infrastructure projects. They have the authority to do that now, and Congress should not dictate how they make this business decision.

       I can assure the gentleman that I would like to work with him on some of the broader section 208 issues to see if we can better address his very legitimate concerns. We certainly sympathize with the gentleman's amendment. The gentleman's amendment is well-intentioned, but at this point the committee position is to urge our colleagues to oppose this amendment.

    ...[A number of Congressmembers speak in opposition to the bill]...

       Mr. ROHRABACHER . Mr. Chairman, I yield myself the balance of my time.

       The establishment has set up a system that we have built a Frankenstein monster in China by ensuring that jobs and manufacturing are going to China. I do not know why that is, I think that was a horrible decision, but it is time for us to start backing away from that policy. The most important way to start backing away from the policy of taking American jobs and shipping them to China, building the economic strength of China, the first step to take is to make sure that those people who go to China to manufacture are paying the cost of shipping their goods into America's markets rather than having the taxpayer provide that for them at the expense of our own manufacturers.

       I would ask people on both sides of the aisle, let us turn around this policy, change the basic policy on China, vote ``yes'' on the Rohrabacher amendment.

       The Acting CHAIRMAN (Mr. Simpson). The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from California (Mr. Rohrabacher ).

       The question was taken; and the Acting Chairman announced that the noes appeared to have it.

       Mr. ROHRABACHER . Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote...

    (Republicans in roman; Democrats in italic; Independents underlined)

          H R 2864      RECORDED VOTE      14-Jul-2005      2:11 PM
          AUTHOR(S):  Rohrabacher of California Amendment
          QUESTION:  On Agreeing to the Amendment

    Ayes Noes PRES NV
    Republican 57 167   6
    Democratic 53 143   6
    Independent 1      
    TOTALS 111 310   12

    ---- AYES    111 ---

    Bartlett (MD)
    Brown (OH)
    Burton (IN)
    Frank (MA)
    Franks (AZ)
    Green (WI)
    Johnson, Sam
    Jones (NC)
    Kennedy (RI)
    King (IA)
    Larson (CT)
    Lungren, Daniel E.
    McCollum (MN)
    Moore (WI)
    Peterson (MN)
    Rogers (MI)
    Ryan (OH)
    Ryan (WI)
    Sanchez, Loretta
    Schwarz (MI)
    Scott (GA)
    Taylor (MS)
    Taylor (NC)
    Udall (CO)
    Udall (NM)
    Wilson (SC)

    ---- NOES    310 ---

    Barrett (SC)
    Barton (TX)
    Bishop (GA)
    Bishop (NY)
    Bishop (UT)
    Bradley (NH)
    Brady (PA)
    Brady (TX)
    Brown (SC)
    Brown, Corrine
    Brown-Waite, Ginny
    Cole (OK)
    Davis (AL)
    Davis (CA)
    Davis (FL)
    Davis (IL)
    Davis (KY)
    Davis (TN)
    Davis, Jo Ann
    Davis, Tom
    Deal (GA)
    Diaz-Balart, L.
    Diaz-Balart, M.
    English (PA)
    Fitzpatrick (PA)
    Garrett (NJ)
    Green, Al
    Green, Gene
    Hastings (FL)
    Hastings (WA)
    Inglis (SC)
    Jackson (IL)
    Jackson-Lee (TX)
    Johnson (CT)
    Johnson (IL)
    Johnson, E. B.
    Jones (OH)
    Kennedy (MN)
    King (NY)
    Kuhl (NY)
    Larsen (WA)
    Lewis (CA)
    Lewis (GA)
    Lewis (KY)
    Lofgren, Zoe
    McCaul (TX)
    Meek (FL)
    Meeks (NY)
    Miller (MI)
    Miller (NC)
    Miller, Gary
    Miller, George
    Moore (KS)
    Moran (KS)
    Moran (VA)
    Neal (MA)
    Peterson (PA)
    Price (GA)
    Price (NC)
    Pryce (OH)
    Rogers (AL)
    Rogers (KY)
    Ryun (KS)
    Sánchez, Linda T.
    Schwartz (PA)
    Scott (VA)
    Smith (NJ)
    Smith (TX)
    Smith (WA)
    Thompson (CA)
    Thompson (MS)
    Van Hollen
    Walden (OR)
    Wasserman Schultz
    Weldon (FL)
    Weldon (PA)
    Wilson (NM)
    Young (AK)

    ---- NOT VOTING    12 ---

    Kilpatrick (MI)
    Miller (FL)
    Young (FL)

    In a March 3, 2006 freewheeling telephone interview with Congressman Rohrabacher, asked about the Port of LB's opposition to container fees for security, reflected by an August 2005 boast by PoLB's DC lobbyist that he'd helped killed Rohrabacher's container fee legislation. Speaking extemporaneously on a cell phone while in motion, Congressman Rohrabacher said bluntly:

    "It's pretty grotesque. This is the Ports beating themselves in the head with a hammer and then bragging about it. I mean it's insane." He continued:

    Cong. Rohrabacher: ...[T]here's a tremendous arrogance in the Ports, and in Long Beach and in Los Angeles in those people involved around the Ports, and when you have arrogance coupled with basically naivete, it's really a very destructive force.

    And that's what you've got here. They're involved in a powerful dynamic in our society, the ports. This is an incredibly powerful dynamic, but they are nowhere near as sophisticated as they think they are. And in fact, their parochialism would be funny if it wasn't so destructive, and their opposition to the container fee idea is the best example of that.

    However, if you have a good idea and you keep pushing it, and you are someone who doesn't mind being put down for a number of years until people realize that you are right, it's OK.

    Laying Groundwork For Undermining Lowenthal Container Fee Bill (SB 760, now SB 927)

    In 2005, the LB City Council publicly voted to support a package of port-related bills authored by State Senator Alan Lowenthal (D., LB-SP-PV). The bills included a container fee measure (SB 760) whose revenue would fund port security measures, clean air programs and port rail programs.

    The proposed container fee was fiercely opposed by industry...which cited federal issues that would have been cured by the federal Rohrabacher bill...which died in the House of Representatives without support from the City of LB and with opposition by the Port of LB's lobbyists).

    As noted in a May 2005 Assembly committee analysis:

    Opponents of this bill make two major arguments against the measure. First, trade-related businesses and organizations contend that the bill violates the United States Constitution's Commerce Clause and breach obligations under international trade agreements, including Article VII of the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs. They believe that costly litigation could result and an international trade dispute at the World Trade Organization could ensue. Opponents believe that California ports would become competitively disadvantaged by the new fees and that cargo would be diverted elsewhere, away from California ports. They describe the container fee as an illegal tax being imposed at a time when existing transportation and infrastructure funds are being diverted to the General Fund and that the new charges will have to be passed on to consumers...

    Sen. Lowenthal's container fee measure was opposed by the "California Association of Port Authorites" entity in which the Port of LB and L.A. are members. The "CA Ass'n of Port Authorities" is also listed on the letterhead of the "California Trade Coalition" (listed names include the CA Chamber of Commerce), which submitted an opposition memo to an Assembly Committee slated to hear the container fee bill on August 17, 2006.

    The "California Trade Coalition" memo cited federal legal issues...which the Rohrabacher bill (defeated without support from the City of LB and with opposition by the Port of LB's lobbyist). "We believe [Sen. Lowenthal's container fee bill] also exposes the state to significant legal expenses as the proposed fee violates the U.S. Constitution [emphasis in original], specific federal fee authorizing statutes, and international trade agreements, such as article VII of the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT)," said the CA Trade Coalition's advocacy memo.

    As previously reported by, the "CA Ass'n of Port Authorities" also opposed SB 764 by Sen. Lowenthal ("no net increase" in port air pollution measure) that was supported by the City of Long Beach.

    The Port of Long Beach was publicly neutral on the "no net increase (SB 764) and container fee (SB 760) measures...but for the past year, the president of the "CA Ass'n of Port Authorities" (a rotating position) was Port of LB Executive Director, Richard Steinke.

    On June 20, 2006, one day after reported that the "CA Ass'n of Port Authorities" had testified against Sen. Lowenthal's "no net increase" bill in an Assembly committee, Councilmembers Tonia Reyes Uranga and Rae Gabelich quizzed Port officials about the matter.

    Councilwoman Reyes Uranga asked PoLB Dir. of Community Affairs & Gov't Relations, Carl Kemp, about Executive Director Steinke's role with the CA Ass'n of Port Authorities. Mr. Kemp replied:

    PoLB Dir. of Community Affairs/Gov't Relations Carl Kemp: We along with all California Ports are members of this Association. However, though the Association did take a position on [SB 764, the "no net increase" bill], we were not official voting parties in it, much like the City Council might take a vote where there are Councilmembers who may or may not vote on it, that's the official position of the Council for the record. The Port of Long Beach did not take an official position opposing any of the legislation that would be counter to what the City Council has supported...As we promised the City Council, we are aggressively neutral and we are in regular communication with Senator Lowenthal and his staff and we have a very open line of communication...

    Councilwoman Rae Gabelich: [to PoLB Executive Dir. Steinke]...I just have to ask you this. During that vote as the president of CAPA, did you cast your vote to support their not-supporting that initiative [SB 764]?

    PoLB Executive Dir. Steinke: No, Councilwoman. As Mr. Kemp explained, though I am the president of the California Association of Port Authorities, which will expire in September, I took no vote for or against the legislation. You have to understand that we have eleven public ports in California. Many of those ports see legislation as having a competitive disadvantage for their business. Many of the ports north of us, Oakland, Hueneme, Redwood City, Richmond, they all would love the business that comes to southern California. Legislation that might look to prevent business or reduce business down here is looked at as a bonanza for those ports, so they are very aggressive to get as much business as they can...You'll see that many of the times that we will abstain from voting for legislation or in support of legislation...

    In a surprising turn of events, Sen. Lowenthal's port bills (which had cleared the State Senate) were blocked by Assembly Democrats. A Daily Breeze/Copley news story (linked with permission on indicated this stemmed from some Assembly Democrats' annoyance with Sen. Lowenthal's bill to reform the drawing of legislators' district lines (now visibly Gerrymandered by controlling Democrat majorities].

    The Assembly leadership eventually let one of Sen. Lowenthal's port bills reach the Assembly floor. Sen. Lowenthal used a "gut and amended" procedure (pouring the container fee text into another bill, SB 927) and making some substantive changes (money previously slated for the AQMD will now go to the CA Air Resources Board) before the final vote.

    SB 927 passed the state legislature and is (as we post) now on the Governor's desk...with industry interests furiously lobbying the Governor to veto it.

    In their opposition, they routinely cite the federal legal issues that the Rohrabacher bill (which died without support from the City of LB and with opposition by the Port's lobbyist) could largely have cured.

    "Container fees of the sort contemplated in the Lowenthal bill would violate the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, international law and U.S. treaty obligations, and would expose the state of California to court challenge were it to become law," said the president of the National Retail Federation ("the world's largest retail trade association, with membership that comprises all retail formats and channels of distribution including department, specialty, discount, catalog, Internet, independent stores, chain restaurants, drug stores and grocery stores as well as the industry's key trading partners of retail goods and services") in a letter urging Gov. Schwarzenegger to veto the bill.

    The letter also contended that the container fee would "substantially increase the cost of moving goods through LA/Long Beach and adversely impact these ports’ competitiveness and workforce as retailers and other shippers are forced to look for alternative ports outside the state of California to enter their goods." will report the Governor's action -- veto or approval -- on the Lowenthal container fee measure when news breaks.

    Ensuring Non-Elected Port Officials Help Write Law Regulating Security Measures, Fed'l "SAFE Port" Act

    On Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists used airports at Boston and Newark -- operated by area port authorities -- to launch their attacks on America. The port-authority run airports used federally-approved useless "security" approved in a process heavily influenced by hired lobbyists and advocates for industry interest groups.

    Nearly five years after that dark day, the process was arguably repeated.

    On March 17, 2006, the Port of Long Beach served as host for a meeting with members of Congress writing and voting on HR 4954, dubbed by its supporters the "SAFE Port" Act,

    Those participating in the meeting included Congressmembers Dan Lungren (R., Sacramento) and Loretta Sanchez (D., Garden Grove), chair and ranking member, respectively, of the Subcommittee on Economic Security, Infrastructure Protection & Cybersecurity of the House Homeland Security Committee.

    Also taking part were Port officials (PoLA Exec. Dir Geraldine Knatz, a PoLB alumna), LB Harbor Commissioners James Hankla and Mario Cordero, PoLB Executive Dir. Richard Steinke and multiple PoLB staffers, plus federal officials and industry interests.

    But at a press event called to publicized the meeting, we saw no elected officials, no LB or L.A. City Councilmembers or LB city management. We subsequently learned later that then-Mayor Beverly O'Neill's office was informed of the meeting...but other LB elected officials weren' oversight that PoLB's Carl Kemp told us resulted from a clerical error. Mr. Kemp said a :cc line on an advisory memo to Councilmembers was inadvertently not transmitted. "It was my error," Mr. Kemp said. also subsequently learned and reported that Assemblywoman Betty Karnette (D., LB), whose district includes the Port of LB, was told by staff in Congressman Lungren's DC office that she was not welcome to attend as a participant.

    Present at the event was the Port of LB's DC lobbyist E. Del Smith...who for years has also represented the City of LB's interests in DC.

    We noticed that Cong. Rohrabacher (whose district includes the Port of LB-L.A.) wasn't listed as a co-sponsor on the bill...and at a news conference we asked if Congressmembers Lungren and Sanchez support Congressman Rohrabacher's efforts to enable Ports to levy container fees -- paid by shippers whose containers create public security risks and costs -- to help defray public costs of container-related security measures.

    (In August 2005, Port of LB lobbyist Smith publicly told LB's Harbor Commissioners that his firm had helped kill Cong. Rohrabacher's container fee legislation.)

    Congressman Lungren said the container fee idea is "not original with Dana [Congressman Rohrabacher], there was an [op-ed piece by a third party in a national newspaper] suggesting that there be a $20 charge per container. At least that has a connection with the process. I would like to stick with the fees that are already existing. I don't know what the trade implications are with that. I'm not sure what the total tax implications are from that. All I'm saying is we at least start the debate going with a dedicated source of funds or stream of funds for this purpose ought to be established. If they want to find it some other way, I'm happy to engage in that debate but at least we're saying we think it's that important this ought to be dedicated for this purpose."

    The House version of the SAFE Port Act relies on maritime customs fees for funding. That view is supported by the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA), an advocacy group in which the Port of LB is a member. AAPA says it supports increased port security but opposes new taxes on shippers.

    In a policy statement on its website posted before introduction of the SAFE Ports act, AAPA said, "AAPA believes that Customs duties should be used as a source of security funds if Congress seeks a dedicated source of funding. AAPA opposes new taxes to fund security enhancements."

    The AAPA also worked to defeat an amendment offered by Congressmembers Ed Markey (D., Boston) and Jerrold Nadler (D. NYC) that would have amended the SAFE Port Act to add a requirement that all incoming cargo containers be inspected and sealed before entering the U.S. and scanned for radiation and density and, if appropriate, atomic elements

    The text supported by Markey and Nadler stated in pertinent part:

    IN GENERAL.--A container may enter the United States, either directly or via a foreign port, only if--

        ``(A) the container is scanned with equipment that meets the standards established pursuant to paragraph (2)(A) and a copy of the scan is provided to the Secretary; and

        ``(B) the container is secured with a seal that meets the standards established pursuant to paragraph (2)(B), before the container is loaded on the vessel for shipment to the United States.


        ``(A) SCANNING EQUIPMENT.--The Secretary shall establish standards for scanning equipment required to be used under paragraph (1)(A) to ensure that such equipment uses the best-available technology, including technology to scan a container for radiation and density and, if appropriate, for atomic elements.

        ``(B) SEALS.--The Secretary shall establish standards for seals required to be used under paragraph (1)(B) to ensure that such seals use the best-available technology, including technology to detect any breach into a container and identify the time of such breach.

    While the AAPA (funded in part by dues paid by LB's and L.A.'s publicly owned Ports) worked to defeat the container inspection requirement, the City of LB officially said...nothing. When the cargo container inspection amendment reached the House floor on May 4, 2006, Congressmembers Markey and Nadler gave strong speeches in support...but they didn't have support from CA's fifth largest city, home to part of the nation's busiest container port complex. The LB City Council had simply not discussed the issue.

    Neither Congresswoman Jane Harman (D., Southbay), a co-author of the "SAFE" port bill, nor Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald (D., Carson-LB) spoke in support of the 100% container inspection requirement. Harman was one of the originally listed co-sponsors of the 100% inspection amendment but on the House floor Harman spoke in favor of the bill without it. "I urge its passage. This is the first great day of the 2006 legislative calendar," Congresswoman Harman said.

    After voting to put themselves on record in favor of the 100% container inspection requirement, Congressmembers Harman and Millender-McDonald then joined all but one Democrat (Markey) in voting for the bill without it.

    Cong. Dan Lungren (R., Sacramento), a previous LB resident/representative who co-authored the "SAFE" port bill, and Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R., HB-LB-PV), who represents roughly 20% of LB (SE ELB), voted against the 100% inspection requirement and voted for the bill without it.

    We post below extended portions of the May 4, 2006 House debate on the 100% container inspection requirement from the Congressional Record [with bracketed material by us for clarity]:

    Mr. KING (R. NY) [House Homeland Security Committee chair]: ...Madam Chairman, on September 11 all of us pledged that we would do all we could to prevent another terrorist attack from occurring in this country. One of the areas where we are most vulnerable is our ports. There are 11 million containers that come into our ports every year from foreign countries. Much progress has been made since September 11 in protecting our ports and improving the inspection process, the screening process, the scanning process; but the reality is that more has to be done.

    I strongly believe that the SAFE Ports Act is a major step in the direction of giving us that level of protection that we need. For instance, it provides $400 million a year in risk-based funding for a dedicated port security grant program.

    It mandates the deployment of radiation portal monitors which will cover 98 percent of the containers entering our country and then going out into the country...

    And as far as the Container Security Initiative, CSI, it mandates that the Secretary of Homeland Security will not allow any container to be loaded onto a ship overseas unless that container is inspected at our request. In the past, we have had a number of countries that refused to make these inspections. There have been 1,000 containers that have entered this country unexamined, uninspected because the overseas ports would not carry out the inspection. In the future, that will not be allowed to happen.

    Also, we require DHS to continually evaluate emerging radioactive detection and imaging technology. We also increase the number of inspectors by 1,200. All of these are part of the layered response and the layered system of defense that we need to significantly and dramatically upgrade the level of protection in our ports.

    This is a bill which I believe warrants the support of the entire House. It passed out of the subcommittee unanimously, and it passed out of the full committee by a vote of 29-0, and I will be urging its adoption today...

    Mr. DANIEL E. LUNGREN (R. CA [Sacramento area]):...This is the best of bills: legislation written to make a law, not to make a political statement. Yes, there are political statements that will be made about this bill, but the fact of the matter is we are moving forward in an effective way to solve a challenge that is out there that the American people recognize and that we recognize...

    I would say we are going to have a debate about 100 percent inspection, and I would say we all would hope for that day. But I would just direct people's attention to the National Journal of this last Friday on the inside page where they have something called the ``Reality Check'' and they refer to this effort to have 100 percent container inspection. They say, and this is the National Journal, that ``it is a nice idea but not very feasible with current technology. Eleven million containers are shipped to U.S. ports each year. Of those, U.S. Customs and border protection personnel physically screen only about 6 percent, 660,000. `It is a noble impulse, but as a practical matter, it can't be accomplished right now,' said Jack Riley, homeland security expert with RAND.''

    The key to being able to carry this out in the future is better equipment that stands [we believe he said "scans"] faster; and that requirement, that impulse, is in this bill as a result of an amendment adopted that was presented by the gentlewoman from Florida. We are attempting to make us safer. Let us rejoice in this day and let us support this bill.

    Mr. MARKEY (D., MA):...Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman.

    This bill has a fatal flaw. It relies upon paperwork checks. If you went to the airport with your bags, showed up, showed the person your ticket and your ID, and then the person just waived you on to the plane with another 150 people and all the bags went on as well, with no scanning, no screening, you would sit petrified in your seat.

    Well, that is what is going to happen, unless the recommittal motion which Mr. Nadler and I are going to make later on today is in fact voted upon successfully.

    The Republican leadership has refused to allow a debate on 100 percent screening of cargo containers coming into the United States.

    Now, why is that important? It is important because of all of the unsecured nuclear material in the former Soviet Union that al Qaeda can purchase, take to a port in Europe, in Asia, in Africa, and then, with a piece of paper and an ID, waive on a 10,000 or 20,000 or 30,000 pound container and, with the nuclear bomb inside of it, send that ship, that container, right to a port in the United States, to New York, to Boston, to California, to any other city in America, without being screened.

    President Kennedy took on the Soviet Union technologically in the 1960s. He put a man on the moon in 8 years. The Republicans are saying they can't figure out in 8 years, 8 years, from 2001 to 2009, how to screen cargo containers coming into the United States and how to put tamper-proof seals on them, knowing that al Qaeda has said that bringing a nuclear weapon into the United States is their highest goal, to kill hundreds of thousands of Americans.

    So this vote that we have later on today will decide whether or not this fatal flaw in the Republican bill is allowed to stand, if the Bush administration is allowed to turn a blind eye to the number one threat that al Qaeda poses to our country.

    Mr. KING of New York. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself the balance of my time.

    Mr. Chairman, we went through a very long and productive, bipartisan process in arriving at this point today. It trivializes the debate, it demeans the process, to be suggesting that anyone, anyone at all in this body, certainly anyone on this committee, is not absolutely committed to the protection of every American life. Those of us who came from districts who lost large numbers of people on September 11 perhaps have even a more acute interest in doing all we possibly can.

    But we also don't want to do the most cruel thing of all, and that is hold out a false hope. The worst thing of all is to adopt legislation which is symbolic rather than real. We want results. We are not looking for sound bites, we are not looking for headlines, we are not looking for the evening news, we are not looking for the tabloids. We are looking to get results to save American lives and to make America safer.

    That is exactly what this legislation does, through layers of defense, through layers of security, through well-thought-out processes and urging as quickly as possible the advancement and the use of technology that can be done. Not technology that might work or might not work, but technology that can work and will work and can be implemented in an effective way.

    That is what this is about. That is what the debate should be about. As the late morning and early afternoon goes forward, I am sure the American voters who are watching this will see that there are those of us who do want to maintain the level of debate on both sides of the aisle, and that level is going to bring about American security.

    Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.


    Mr. NADLER (D. NY):...Mr. Chairman, I rise in very tepid support of this bill. It is a very nice bill. It has some nice provisions. None of it matters very much if we do not at least electronically scan every container before it is put on a ship bound for the United States. All it would take is one atomic bomb, one radiological bomb, to make 9/11 look like a fire cracker, to kill hundreds of thousands of people, to cost hundreds of billions of dollars, to bring commerce to a total halt for weeks or months while every ship, every container is not scanned, but searched, inspected by hand before they are allowed to proceed into this country, because that is what will happen if there is, God forbid, a disaster in this country.

    We have no protection against that now. Even with this bill, we depend on risk-based analysis, on paper as Mr. Markey said, to defend us. What the motion to recommit does is to say that no container can be put on a ship bound for the United States until it is scanned for radiation and for density, until the result of that scan is transmitted electronically in real-time to American inspectors in the United States, and until a tamper-proof seal that will tell us whether that container has been tampered with after it is scanned is put on that container.

    We are told this is not feasible. Mr. King says the technology does not exist. But it is done in Hong Kong today. It is done in Hong Kong today. The two biggest terminals in Hong Kong have this. Of course, nobody bothers reading the scans because the Department of Homeland Security cannot be bothered. They are on a hard drive in Hong Kong.

    It is relatively cheap, $6.50 per container, 10 seconds per container, no delay. But the DHS has no urgency. Mr. Gingrey, a Republican of Georgia at the Rules Committee, said that he had a company in his district that makes those tamper-proof seals that can talk to the global positioning satellite; but he cannot get DHS to talk to them, they are not interested.

    The motion to recommit we are told is irresponsible and partisan. It is, in fact, word for word identical as the amendment that was agreed to by the chairman of the Transportation Committee and adopted unanimously by a bipartisan vote in the Transportation Committee. But suddenly when it comes to the floor, it is a partisan amendment.

    The Republicans on the Transportation Committee understood the necessity for protecting our homeland.

    The Republicans on the Homeland Security Committee apparently do not, nor does the Republican leadership, because they will not agree to this obvious thing to do that everyone, bipartisan, on the Transportation Committee agreed to do.

    Mr. Chairman, the main risk comes from the so-called low-risk containers, not the high-risk containers. Wal-Mart ships a shipment of sneakers from a factory in Indonesia. And on the truck on the way to the port, the truck driver goes to lunch. And while he is at lunch, someone takes out a package of sneakers and puts in an atomic bomb. The bill of lading is fine. It is a reliable company. It is low-risk, and there is an atomic bomb on that container, and no one sees it because that container is not scanned.

    Maybe it is scanned under this bill in Boston or in Los Angeles. It is too late to look at it in Los Angeles if there is an atomic bomb on board.

    Mr. Chairman, this motion to recommit, which I hope Members will vote for on the merits, not vote party line against it because it is a procedural motion or some such nonsense, makes this a worthy bill, and makes this a bill that will really protect Americans... I offer this motion to recommit with the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Markey), and I thank him for his efforts on this issue.

       This is a reasonable bill, but none of it matters much if we don't at least electronically scan every shipping container. All it takes is one atomic or radiological bomb to make 9/11 look like a firecracker, to kill hundreds of thousands of people, to cost hundreds of billions of dollars, to bring commerce to a total halt for weeks or months while every ship is searched by hand because we don't have in place the means to scan every container.

       That is what this motion is about. If we really want to make this country safer, we must demand that before any container is put on a ship bound for the United States it must be scanned electronically in the foreign port. It is too late if we find a nuclear bomb in Los Angeles or New York.

       The container must then be sealed with a seal that will tell us if it is tampered with after it is scanned, and the results of the scan must be transmitted electronically to people in the United States for examination.

       This motion is identical to an amendment that was unanimously agreed to by Chairman Young and the entire Transportation Committee a month ago. This is not a partisan issue, unless you choose to make it so by voting ``no.''

       They say the technology doesn't exist. The technology most certainly does exist. It is installed right now in Hong Kong. The technology is installed in Hong Kong now, except that the results of those scans are stored on disks because no one at the Department of Homeland Security can be bothered to read them.

       The people who say we can't do this are the same people that told us 2 years ago that we couldn't get a bill of lading for every container 24 hours in advance, the same people who told us that if we searched every passenger, the airports would be gridlocked, the planes would never take off. Scanning every container is feasible, it is relatively cheap, and it will not delay global commerce.

       If we continue to rely solely on so-called risk-based strategy, the terrorists will simply put the atomic bomb in a low-risk container from Wal-Mart. The real risk is that a good company will have a container with sneakers on a truck in Indonesia. On the way to a port, the driver will stop for lunch; and while he is at lunch terrorists will take out some sneakers and put in a bomb. And the bill of lading will be fine.

       The question on this motion is, do we or do we not want to risk American cities and American lives on the chairman's confidence in Wal-Mart's paperwork?

       Mr. Speaker, I yield now to a leader on this issue, Mr. Markey.

       Mr. MARKEY. I thank the gentleman from New York for his great leadership on this issue.

       This recommital motion deals with the fatal flaw in the Republican bill. They have refused to allow a vote on this House floor on this issue. This is now the time for the Members to go on record to get real about cargo security.

       The threat is that, in the former Soviet Union, with all of the loose nuclear material, that al Qaeda purchases a nuclear device, brings it to a port in Asia, in Africa, in Europe, places it upon a ship. Using the screening which the Republican party supports, the screening would be a piece of paper. Oh, you look okay. You can bring it on to the ship. No inspection, no scanning. That is what their bill does.

       The Democratic substitute says that no container can be placed on a ship coming to the United States which is not scanned for uranium, for nuclear materials, for a nuclear bomb, for weapons of mass destruction.

       The screening must be done overseas, and we must seal those containers. We must scan and seal overseas so that we do not have to duck and cover here in the United States. That is the risk that al Qaeda has said they pose to us at the very top of their terrorist target list.

       The Republicans are basically saying they are going to put a ``Beware of Dog'' sign out on the lawn but not purchase a dog, never do the screening, never do the inspection, use a paperwork inspection instead.

       This bill has a loophole big enough to drive a cargo container filled with nuclear weapons material through it. This is an historic moment.

       Here is the seal which the Republicans are still approving to be placed upon a cargo container. This can be cut by a child's scissors, ladies and gentlemen.

       This is what should be placed upon each one of the containers after they have been scanned, after they have been sealed, to make sure that if it is tampered with an electronic signal goes to the Department of Homeland Security.

       The Republican party says no. The Republican party says they will use paperwork instead of real, physical scanning of each and every cargo container, knowing that it could have a nuclear weapon, knowing that these nuclear materials have not been secured in the former Soviet Union.

       Vote ``aye'' on the recommital motion and protect the security of our country from the single greatest threat that is posed to it. Vote ``aye'' on the recommital motion.

       Mr. KING [R. NY]...Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to the motion to recommit.

       The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.

       Mr. KING of New York. Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from California (Mr. Daniel E. Lungren), the author of the legislation.

       Mr. DANIEL E. LUNGREN [R. CA] : Mr. Speaker, I came to this body with many of you to make sure that we did what was necessary to protect our constituents. I brought this bill to the floor, through the subcommittee, committee and to the floor with that promise in mind.

       This is not, as the gentleman from Massachusetts said, a Republican bill. This is, in fact, a bipartisan bill. Eighty cosponsors. Passed our committee 29-0.

       There is a dispute with respect to this particular technology, and I might just refer you to the National Journal of this last week talking about this very issue. It said, nice idea, but not very feasible with current technology.

       Eleven million containers are shipped to the U.S. ports each year. Of those, U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel physically screen, that means inspect, only about 6 percent, or 660,000.

       It is a noble impulse, but, as a practical matter, it can't be accomplished right now, said Jack Riley, Homeland Security expert with Rand.

       The key to being able to carry this out in the future is better equipment that scans faster. That is what our bill does. It asks us to accelerate our investigation into new technology. It mandates that the Secretary, if, in fact, he finds that to be usable, practical, adaptable, that he then negotiate with foreign countries to immediately put it into place and, if they refuse, gives our President and our Secretary the right to refuse to allow their cargo into the United States. We don't put a time limit on it. We said as soon as it is feasible to do it.

       So as a great political philosopher, Don Meredith, once said, ``If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, every day would be Christmas.''

       We don't bring you a hope that cannot be fulfilled. We bring you a promise that can be fulfilled in this bill. Please vote down this motion to recommit.

       Mr. KING of New York. Mr. Speaker, let me at the outset commend Ranking Member Thompson, Chairman LUNGREN, Ranking Member SANCHEZ, Ms. Harman for the truly bipartisan job they did in putting this together...

       I am proud of how bipartisan this was, right up till a few moments ago. Just this afternoon we adopted nine Democratic amendments on this bill.

       The reality is, though, this is an outstanding port security bill. I came from a district which lost more than 150 friends, neighbors and constituents on September 11. Unlike Mr. Markey, I don't need visual aids to remind me of what happened on September 11.

       Mr. MARKEY. Will the gentleman yield?

       Mr KING of New York. No, I will not yield. I did not interrupt you.

       Mr. MARKEY. Mohammed Atta started in Boston, my friend. There were Bostonians on that plane.

       The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from New York is recognized.

       Mr. KING of New York. Amazing how the truth hurts.

       I don't need visual aids to remind me what happened on September 11. I can go to my district office and see a woman working at the front desk who lost two cousins. I can talk to another member of my staff who lost a son, or another member who lost two brothers on that day. I can go to church on Sunday and see 10, 15 families who lost people.

       This is an issue where every Member on both sides of the aisle is committed to doing the right thing. And it is wrong when people on the other side say the Republicans are not trying to stop another nuclear attack. Do they really believe that? Do they so demean the process of debate in this House that they are willing to do anything to get elected, do anything to make points on evening news, the sound bites, the cable TV?

       The fact is this bill is a real bill. It does not send a false or misleading hope. It is not a cruel hoax. It does what is real. It does what can be done, and that is why I am so proud of this bill.

       We adopted amendments by Ms. Ginny Brown-Waite, by Mr. Shays. And, by the way, the language in our bill is far similar to the amendment adopted on a bipartisan basis sponsored by a member of the opposition party in the Senate yesterday than anything Mr. Markey or Mr. Nadler have introduced today.

       So I say, do what is right. Stand for real port security, stand for a really strong America. Vote down the motion to recommit and vote for the underlying bill that will bring about real safe ports in this country and we can all be proud of it.

       I yield back the balance of my time.

       The SPEAKER pro tempore. All time for debate has expired.

       Without objection, the previous question is ordered on the motion to recommit...

       Mr. NADLER. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.

       The yeas and nays were ordered...

    The motion to recommit failed on a 202-222 near party-line vote (six Repubs voted with Dems). The House then passed the "SAFE Port" bill without the 100% container inspection requirement on a 421-2 vote...sending it to the Senate.

    Epilogue and Prologue

    On September 11, 2006 the U.S. Senate is scheduled to take up its version of the SAFE Port Act; two amendments (one by Sen. John McCain (R., AZ) on rail security) have already been offered...and more may be coming.

    As the bill currently stands, it includes the following provisions (summary text)

    Section 121: Domestic radiation detection and imaging. Requires the [Homeland Security] Secretary to develop a strategy for deployment of radiation detection capabilities and ensures that by December 2007, all containers entering the U.S., through the busiest 22 seaports, shall be examined for radiation. Requires DHS to submit a report of the strategic plan developed and to implement the strategy nationwide within three years. Requires DHS to submit a separate plan for the development of equipment to detect WMD threats at all U.S. ports of entry.

    Section 122: Port security user fee study. Requires DHS to study the need for and feasibility of oceanborne and port-related transportation security user fees to be collected for funding port security improvements. Requires DHS to submit a report detailing the results of the study, analysis of current customs fees and duties collected that are dedicated to security, comparison of comparable fees imposed in ports of Canada and Mexico, assessment of the impact on competitiveness of U.S. ports, and recommendations based on findings.

    On September 8, 2006, Sen. Susan Collins (R., ME) indicated she expects debate on the issue of requiring the 100% inspection of cargo containers. She voiced her opposition to a 100% container inspection requirement by quoting a letter sent to her by an interest group representing retailers. We quote the Congressional Record text below:

    Ms. COLLINS. Mr. President, one of the issues that will undoubtedly come up during the debate on the port security bill has to do with the scanning of containers. Some people have asked: Why don't we scan 100 percent of the 11 million containers coming into this country? And the answer is simply that it is not practical with the current technology. The bill that is before us authorizes three pilot projects in three foreign ports where we would take a look at the feasibility and practicality and the implications of 100 percent scanning.

    There is 100 percent screening. There is a difference between screening a container, which means gathering information on each and every container and doing a sophisticated computer analysis to determine which are of higher risk, versus scanning each container with an x-ray-type machine or some other method or a physical inspection.

    The problem of trying to scan 100 percent of all containers is best summed up by a letter that we recently received from the Supply Chain Security Coalition. This is a coalition of some of the largest and most knowledgeable stakeholders in the supply chain's system, including the Retail Industry Leaders Association.

    The letter says:

    One hundred percent scanning proposals and amendments advocating such a proposal could potentially actually decrease security by forcing containers to sit for extended periods of time, putting them at greater risk of tampering, and would divert resources away from the current risk assessment approach. In addition -- and this is the key point -- such a mandate has the potential to significantly impede the flow of commerce and damage the U.S. and global economy.

    Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the full text of that letter be printed in the RECORD.

    There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the RECORD, as follows:

    U.S. Senate,
    Washington, DC.

    DEAR SENATOR COLLINS: On behalf of the Retail Industry Leaders Association, I am writing to urge you to support strong and carefully crafted port security legislation that builds on the current multilayered, risk assessment approach that has effectively protected our nation's seaports over the last several years. I also urge you, in the strongest terms possible, to oppose any legislation that would require all U.S. bound cargo containers to be ``scanned'' for radiation and density, so called 100% scanning legislation. While we strongly support improving the security of our nation's seaports, 100% scanning proposals have the potential to do more harm than good.

    The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) is the trade association of the largest and fastest growing companies in the retail industry. Its members include retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales. RILA members operate more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers, have facilities in all 50 states, and provide millions of jobs domestically and worldwide.

    We understand that key committees in the Senate has come to an agreement on a port security bill that may be taken up as soon as tomorrow, September 8th, 2006, and that the legislation is based on provisions from earlier bills drafted in the Homeland Security & Government Affairs Committee, the Commerce, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Finance Committee. Each of those bills contain important provisions that will help improve our nation's port security laws by building upon and recognizing the effectiveness of the well-established security measures our government currently has in place. RILA supports legislation that builds upon this proven approach, which is why we worked to help pass port security legislation in the House, H.R. 4954, The SAFE Ports Act. It is our hope that the Senate bill will closely mirror the House legislation, which received overwhelming bipartisan support.

    However, I also strongly urge you to oppose any legislation that would require that all U.S. bound cargo containers be scanned for radiation and density, so called ``100% scanning'' amendments. Such proposals may at first glance appear to improve security, but in reality, they would impose immense costs on our economy and foreign relations without improving the security of our international trading systems.

    First, a 100% scanning mandate is unrealistic since the technology does not yet exist to do this efficiently and with a high degree of accuracy. We are not aware of any credible technology to actually analyze the millions of density images that would be taken of outbound cargo containers, meaning such images would have to be reviewed one by one by a port official or Customs officer. Second, this mandate could actually decrease security by forcing containers to sit for extended periods of time, putting them at greater risk of tampering.

    In addition, forcing all containers to be scanned--including the vast majority of those that pose no risk--would divert scarce security resources away from the successful risk assessment approach currently utilized by the government. This approach uses sophisticated risk-analysis tools to determine which containers pose a risk and ensures those containers are handled appropriately. It is important for Senators to remember that the Department of Homeland Security currently uses a risk-based targeting approach to inspect inbound cargo. All cargo manifests are submitted at least 24 hours prior to loading on a vessel and the Automated Targeting System (ATS) uses complex, rule-based formulas to assign a numerical score and identify at-risk containers. CBP then inspects 100% of all containers deemed high-risk.

    Finally, a 100% scanning mandate has the potential to significantly impede the flow of commerce and do damage to the economy. According a June 2006 study conducted by the RAND Corporation, 100% scanning would delay the movement cargo containers by 5.5 hours per container. With 11 to 12 million containers entering the U.S. every year, it is obvious that of 100% scanning mandate would bring global commerce and the flow goods to a virtual standstill. This would severely damage the U.S. economy, not only by denying consumers access to thousands of products they need, but also by preventing the delivery of material and other inputs that U.S. manufactures need.

    Rather than mandating 100% scanning, port security legislation should authorize additional testing and evaluation of scanning technology. Several of the relevant port security bills address this issue by calling for pilot projects and other evaluations to test the effectiveness and operational capability to conduct increased container scanning, including the ``GreenLane Maritime Cargo Security Act'' passed by the Senate Homeland Security Committee and the House SAFE Ports Act. These provisions represent the best way to address this issue and answer important operational and economic questions critical to understanding how to effectively implement container scanning.

    Retail companies are among the largest and most knowledgeable stakeholders in the supply chain system and administer the most extensive and efficient logistics operations in the world. The industry has worked hand-in-hand with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and specifically with the Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection to ensure that our customers, employees, and the nation's seaports remain safe and that the nation's economy remains strong. We take a back seat to no industry in our support for strong and carefully crafted port security legislation, and we urge the Senate to move quickly to pass such a bill as soon as possible.

    Thank you for your consideration of our views. We look forward to working with you on this critically important issue. Should you have any questions, please contact Paul T. Kelly, Senior Vice President for Government Affairs or Allen Thompson, Vice President for Global Supply Chain Policy.

    Sandy Kennedy,

    Ms. COLLINS. Mr. President, what we have tried to do with this bill is very carefully balance the need for effective, improved security with the need to ensure that we are not crippling our international trading system.

    As we post on September 10, 2006, the City of Long Beach's lawmakers/policymakers on its elected City Council have yet to take a public position on this matter.

    Until they do, CA's fifth largest city will not be part of the national debate or discussion on this issue that directly affects Long Beach and the nation.

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