The 2012 American Boating Congress marked another successful year on Capitol Hill for the recreational boating industry. With 165 in attendance, conducting 187 Hill visits, the event highlighted important policy issues such as ethanol, the Lacey Act, proposed closures at Biscayne National Park and more.
Attendees heard from a variety of distinguished legislators and industry experts who addressed economic concerns and legislation, as well as insight into their impact on recreational boating, This year’s speakers included Francisco Sanchez, Commerce Under Secretary, Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Jon Jarvis, Director, National Park Service, Neil Newhouse, Public Opinion Strategies and Greg Ip, The Economist.
Following the ABC general session, where attendees were briefed on top issues affecting recreational boating, industry representatives met with Senators, Members of Congress, and Congressional staff to directly address policies in face-to-face meetings. Boating industry leaders and policymakers were able to engage in candid discussions around pressing issues facing boaters and the U.S. boating industry, including oral arguments recently heard by a panel of three judges of U.S. Court of Appeals on NMMA’s challenge to the EPA Waiver allowing the sale of E15, as well as a new strategic partnership between NMMA and the Commerce Department, encouraging import/export initiatives.
In addition to a robust conference program and successful Hill meetings, the Congressional Boating Caucus was honored at a closing reception bringing federal legislators and industry stakeholders together under one common theme; support for the recreational boating industry as a whole. NMMA President Thom Dammrich noted, “I look at the boating industry as an ecosystem. If bad legislation and regulation adversely affects one part of the industry, it harms the entire industry. We must continue to work together to gain ground on Capitol Hill.”