WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Clay Higgins (R-LA) and Congressman Neal Dunn (R-FL) introduced the Gulf of Mexico Commerce Protection Act, which would prevent the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from issuing a vessel slowdown zone in the Gulf of Mexico until the Department of Commerce demonstrates that the protocols developed to protect Rice’s Whales (RWs) in the Gulf will not negatively impact our supply chains or maritime commerce.
Earlier this year, environmental activist groups filed a petition with the NOAA to establish a year-round 10-knot (approx. 11.5 mph) vessel speed restriction zone in the Rice’s whale “core” habitat area in the Gulf of Mexico. Since then, over 75,000 comments were submitted to the NOAA, many opposing the overly broad restriction.
This legislation has support from the Gulf Ports Association, Marine Retailers Association of the America’s (MRAA), Florida Ports Association, and St. Andrew Bay Pilots Association.