Wyden, Merkley & DeFazio Announce Additional Protections for Lifesaving Coast Guard Facility in Newport
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio today announced Senate passage of additional protections for the lifesaving Coast Guard air facility in Newport that were included in the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018.
“This facility is critical to the Coast Guard’s search-and-rescue operations. It can make the difference between life and death both for central Oregon Coast residents and visitors to our state’s beaches,” said Wyden. “Today’s action is a positive step forward, but I won’t stop fighting until we have a permanent solution to keep this essential rescue station open.”
“This reauthorization greatly strengthens our ability to keep lifesaving Coast Guard helicopters on the job in Newport,” Merkley said. “This victory will preserve a critically important asset for our coastal communities and visitors.”
“It is impossible to overstate how critical having search and rescue helicopters nearby is to Oregon’s fishing industry, coastal visitors and residents. The Newport air station handles half the emergency calls on the Central Oregon Coast and without it, people in imminent danger will have to wait for a helicopter from North Bend or Astoria to rescue them. It is imperative that the Newport air facility stay open, and I will continue to do everything I can here in Washington D.C. to ensure we have a permanent resolution to this problem,” said DeFazio, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and lead Democratic sponsor and negotiator in the House of Representatives on the Coast Guard Authorization Act.
The lawmakers have tirelessly advocated to keep the Newport air facility open. It is one of Oregon’s few deep-draft ports and is home to the state’s largest commercial fishing fleet and several National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration vessels.