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President Signs Murray's Port Security Bill into Law

Oct 13 2006

Murray's 5 year effort results in new law that will protect ports, secure cargo, and safeguard American lives and the U.S. economy

(Washington, D.C.) –President Bush today signed into law legislation authored by U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) that will dramatically improve the security of America's ports and cargo container system.

Murray flew back to Washington D.C. to attend the signing ceremony at the White House.

"Today marks the beginning of a new approach to the way this country protects its ports, its economy, and its people." said Senator Murray. "September 11th taught us all about our country's many vulnerabilities, and in the days following the attack my effort to safeguard our nation's ports began. After five long years of work, today's signing represents a tremendous victory in the effort to bring real security to the American people. "

The bipartisan GreenLane bill, which Murray introduced with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) –

  • raises security standards for all cargo entering the U.S.,

  • creates a GreenLane to track and monitor cargo,

  • creates a system to resume trade after an incident,

  • and funds port security grants.

For Washington state, the bill will provide new security grants for Washington's ports, a new regional coordination center, new radiation detection equipment at the Port of Tacoma, new Customs personnel for Seattle/Tacoma, and a new system to keep Washington's trade-dependent economy moving.

"Washington state is a real winner today because we are securing our many ports and protecting our trade dependent economy," said Senator Murray. "Today's legislation will effectively push out the nation's security borders so we can screen cargo before it ever reaches our state's shores."

Today's signing marks the culmination of a five-year effort by Senator Murray to implement cargo security measures at our nation's ports. Beginning after the attacks of September 11th with Murray's Operation Safe Commerce program to enhance port, cargo and supply chain security, Murray had been steadfast in her dedication to port security.

Specifically, Murray's legislation will:

  • Protect Americans by making our cargo and seaports more secure - mitigating a dangerous vulnerability.

  • Help prevent a lengthy shutdown of America's seaports in the event of an incident – protecting America's economy from severe disruption.

  • Provide layered security at every step of the supply chain while keeping it efficient.

  • Push the borders out so we can focus our limited resources on suspect cargo.

The bill improves security at America's ports by establishing:

  • The GreenLane, comprised of supply chain participants who voluntarily meet the highest level of security, allows our security services to better identify and respond to potential threats and provides real incentives to importers to enhance their supply chain security measures.

  • Minimum security standards for all cargo containers entering the U.S. and requirements that strengthen current cargo security programs.

  • The Office of Cargo Security Policy to ensure accountability and coordination of cargo security policies, procedures & regulations at the Department of Homeland Security and with other agencies.

  • Joint Operations Centers to ensure a coordinated, measured response and the resumption and flow of commerce in the event of an incident or heightened national security threat level.

  • The Act also authorizes port security grants, the Container Security Initiative and C-TPAT.

Senator Murray has worked on the legislation signed into law today since the attacks of September 11th. The following is a summary of her efforts leading up to today's signing:


Post-September 11, 2001: Senator Murray begins talking to port security experts, industry and government officials regarding cargo security measures. Senator Murray holds three Senate hearings on cargo security: one in Washington, D.C. (3/21/02) and two in Seattle (4/4/02 and 7/1/02).

July 2002: Senator Murray writes and funds Operation Safe Commerce – the first research, development, testing and evaluation program to enhance port, cargo and supply chain security.

June 2003: Senator Murray wins a battle with the Bush Administration and succeeds in restoring funding for Operation Safe Commerce, which the Administration had tried to cut.

November 5, 2003: Senator Murray meets with shippers and officials from 8 ports to discuss cargo security measures.

December 9, 2003: Senator Murray visits the Ports of New York and New Jersey and meets with port officials, terminal operators, customers and law enforcement agencies to discuss what's needed to secure cargo while keeping it efficient.

January 30, 2004: Senator Murray writes to Admiral James Loy, Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, asking why DHS is creating new, disjointed cargo security programs that are not based on the best practices. Murray calls for a coordinated, "large-scale, operational cargo security program."

February 2004: At three hearings, Senator Murray questions Bush Administration officials about the President's proposed cuts to cargo security programs. Murray questions OMB Director Josh Bolton and DHS Secretary Tom Ridge.

March 2004: Senator Murray is named “Person of the Year” by the American Association of Port Authorities for her work on Operation Safe Commerce, advancing maritime initiatives, holding hearings on cargo security, and boosting funding for the Coast Guard.

January 2005: Senator Murray begins meeting with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials, including Secretary Ridge, Deputy Secretary Loy (Adm.), and Bureau of Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Robert Bonner to discuss the progress of port, cargo and supply chain security programs.

February 2005: Senator Murray begins meeting with the Import/Shipping industry to discuss proposals to enhance port, cargo and supply chain security.

March 2005: Senator Murray begins meeting with labor officials regarding proposals to enhance port, cargo and supply chain security.

May 5, 2005: Senator Murray meets with Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee Chair, Senator Collins (R-ME) to discuss a proposal to enhance port, cargo and supply chain security.

June 2005: Senators Murray and Collins begin writing the GreenLane Maritime Cargo Security Act.

July 7, 2005: Senator Murray outlines the principles behind the GreenLane bill to the Washington Council on International Trade.

November 15, 2005: Senator Murray introduces S. 2008, the GreenLane Maritime Cargo Security Act, with Senators Collins, Coleman (R-MN) and Lieberman (D-CT). Senators Feinstein (D-CA), Snowe (R-ME) and DeWine (R-OH) are also co-sponsors.

March 14, 2006: Congressman Dan Lungren (R-CA) introduces H.R. 4954, the SAFE Ports Act of 2006 with 45 original co-sponsors, including Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-CA).

March 27, 2006: Senator Collins re-introduces the GreenLane Maritime Cargo Security Act (S. 2459) with Senators Murray, Coleman and Lieberman, which was referred to the HSGAC.

March 28, 2006: House Committee on Homeland Security favorably reports H.R. 4954, the SAFE Ports Act, with amendments.

April 5, 2006: Senator Murray testifies on the GreenLane bill as it gets a hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.

May 2, 2006: The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (HSGAC) favorably reports the GreenLane Maritime Cargo Security Act (S. 2459), with amendments.

May 4, 2006: The full House approves H.R. 4954, the SAFE Ports Act, by recorded vote of 421 – 2 (Roll no. 127).

July 26, 2006: HSGAC and Senate Commerce Committee issue compromise port security legislation.

July 27, 2006: Senator Murray speaks before the August recess, urging the full Senate to take up consideration of the GreenLane bill.

September 7, 2006: Senate HSGAC, Commerce and Finance Committees issue compromise port security legislation.

September 7, 2006: the Port Improvement Security Act of 2006, based on Senator Murray and Collins’ original GreenLane legislation, is introduced in the U.S. Senate.

September 12, 2006: Senator Murray secures a dedicated funding source for the GreenLane cargo security bill.

September 14, 2006: Senator Murray's GreenLane Cargo Security legislation passes the full Senate by a vote of 98-0.

September 29, 2006: Conference Report of Senator Murray's GreenLane Cargo Security legislation passes both houses of Congress.

October 13, 2006: President George W. Bush signs Senator Murray's GreenLane Cargo Security legislation into law.