Senate PASSES Murray's GreenLane Port Security Legislation

Sep 14 2006

Murray's five-year effort delivers new system to protect ports, secure cargo, and safeguard American lives and the U.S. economy

For Washington state, passage means security grants for Washington's ports, new regional coordination center, new radiation detection equipment and Customs per

(Washington D.C.) – Today the U.S. Senate passed landmark cargo security legislation authored by U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) that will dramatically improve the security of America's ports and cargo container system. Murray's bill passed by a vote of 98-0. Senator Murray has spearheaded the effort to protect America's ports since the terrorist attacks of September 11th. She spent the past week on the Senate floor managing debate on her bill.

"Today we have taken a giant step to improve the safety of ports in Washington and across the country," said Senator Murray. "By raising security standards and investing in cargo security, we will close a dangerous security gap and keep our country safe."

The bipartisan 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.

"Because our state relies so heavily on the trade that flows through our ports, we are uniquely susceptible to a devastating and economically crippling attack," said Murray. "The legislation passed today effectively pushes out our security borders, allowing us to detect tampered cargo long before it enters our ports. This bill also takes into consideration our state's unique trade needs by providing security measures that won't impede the flow of commerce."

Today's vote 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 Senator Murray's Operation Safe Commerce program to enhance port, cargo and supply chain security, Murray had been steadfast in her dedication to port security. The legislation passed today is a result of Murray's collaboration with Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee Chair, Senator Susan Collins (D-ME). Senator Murray approached Senator Collins over a year ago to work on a bill to protect America's ports. Together, they introduced the GreenLane Maritime Security Act.

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.

Next, the Senate bill must be reconciled with the House version and both chambers must approve the final bill before it can be sent to the President for his signature.

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



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. The funding will stem from the extension of two existing customs fees.

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


A Thank You From Senator Murray - 9/14/06

Mr. President, they say that "success has a thousand authors," and that's certainly true in the five years I've been working on port security.

First, I want to thank my partner, Senator Collins. Last May, I sought out Senator Collins because I knew she cared about port security, she'd worked on it at the Homeland Security Committee, and she had the knowledge and leadership to help us reach this milestone. She has been a steadfast partner everyday of the past 16 months that we've worked together, and I want to commend her and thank her.

Senators Lieberman and Coleman were right there with us shaping this bill in the early days and helping us move it forward. I want to thank Senator Stevens and Senator Inouye at the Commerce Committee for their hard work, leadership, and passion. I want to thank Senators Grassley and Baucus for working with us on this bill. I want to thank both of our leaders for setting aside time so we could debate the bill.

I want to thank all the leaders from the maritime community who've shared their ideas and expertise with me - Mic Dinsmore, Henry Yates, and Rod Hilden at the Port of Seattle; Tim Farrell, Mike Zachary, and Julie Collins at the Port of Tacoma; and also leaders at the ports of New York/New Jersey, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Charleston, Miami, and MassPort in Boston.

I want to thank security experts, especially Admiral James Loy and Dr. Stephen Flynn, for their thoughtful input on our bill.

Finally, there are a number of staff members who helped shape this bill. Shay Hancock and Kathy Kraninger worked the long days and late nights to turn the best security ideas into a effective, workable bill, and I thank them. Jason Park and Lesley Turner have been at my side here on the floor along with Mike Spahn and Kevin Kayes. Brian White, who now runs Cargo Security Policy at DHS, and Michel Bobb, who's now at OMB, provided critical help along with Ray Shepherd, Jason Yanussi, Dabney Hegg, Sam Whitehorn, Ken Nahigian, and from my personal staff Rick Desimone, Alex Glass, Pete Weissman and Matt McAlvanah.