A massive bill making its way through Congress could help alleviate shipping issues.
During a visit with members of the Aberdeen Area Chamber of Commerce’s Community Affairs Committee on Friday, U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson, RS.D., highlighted the Ocean Shipping Reform Act. This could help address scenarios in which shipping containers leave US ports empty and as a result US products are going to waste, he said.
“Nobody exports food like America does,” Johnson told the Dakota Event Center, pointing out that 60% of the soybeans grown in South Dakota are exported.
But, he said, the five largest liners, all of which are non-US companies, have gone from 15% market control to 75%.
“Our bill would change that,” he said.
According to a summary of the bill, the goal is to revise provisions relating to shipping policies, support the growth and development of U.S. exports, promote reciprocal trade, and implement reporting requirements to the Federal Maritime Commission.
“This is a massive bill,” he said.
When ocean liners leave US ports empty, perishables are left to languish, and Johnson hopes the measure will help solve that problem.
He also noted that supply chain difficulties are compounding shipping difficulties, including a 40% increase in consumer electronics from Asia.
“There was so much demand for Asian electronics that it overwhelmed the system,” he said.
In short, the demand for these products is so high that ships leave the United States to return to Asia without even being loaded.
Following his speech, Johnson said the House passed the Shipping Reform Act three times – once as a stand-alone bill and twice in conjunction with other pieces of legislation. The Senate passed a version of the House proposal in late March. Because the elements of the bills differ, Johnson said, it now requires a reconciliation process so that the final language can be approved by both houses.
US spending is making inflation worse
Asked about inflation, Johnson said the United States had made the situation worse and pointed to additional spending approved in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as culpable.
“A lot of social spending has been relatively unjustified by the data,” he said.
The result — too many dollars for too few products. And, he says, fewer people are working. Yes, people have retired, but 2.5 million people who were working before the pandemic aren’t now, he said. Johnson suggested stopping the funding programs and reimposing the work requirement on people who receive assistance through the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as SNAP.
Pipelines are “incredibly safe”
Carbon capture pipelines have become a hot topic in the Aberdeen area. While Johnson admitted to having limited knowledge of Summit Carbon Solutions’ proposed pipeline that would run from Iowa to North Dakota, including through eastern South Dakota, he said the pipelines are generally “incredibly safe. “. If approved, the carbon dioxide pipeline would be built to the highest standards due to the regulations in place, he said.
After:Landowners raise concerns over proposed carbon pipeline at Aberdeen PUC meeting
Summit Carbon Solutions has filed a permit application with the State Utilities Commission for a 2,000-mile carbon sequestration pipeline project. About 470 miles of the line would be in South Dakota. The $4.5 billion pipeline would reduce carbon dioxide emissions from 31 ethanol plants in five states, including seven in South Dakota.
While company officials have asked landlords for easements to cross private land, officials have also talked about using eminent domain.
Johnson said a for-profit company like Summit shouldn’t have the same eminent domain authority that’s allowed for public projects like developing a road or highway.