Jul 16 2013

Huffman introduces bill to refinance decade-old fishing industry loan

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Legislation aimed at alleviating the financial hardship of a federal loan that has been weighing on Pacific Coast groundfish fisherman for nearly a decade has moved one step closer to passing, North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman’s office announced on Thursday.

Introduced into Congress this week, Huffman’s “Revitalizing the Economy of Fisheries in the Pacific Act” picks up where a bipartisan bill introduced in September 2012 by former North Coast Congressman Mike Thompson left off, and would allow for the refinancing of a $35.7 million buyback loan authorized by Congress in 2003.

In a press release, Huffman called the bill — his second piece of legislation to be introduced since he took office in January — “… a win-win for small businesses and the environment.”

The opportunity to refinance the loan at a lower interest rate would give local groundfish fishermen the same opportunities as any homeowner or business, and would not require the federal government to spend any new money.

“The success of our local fishermen is essential to the health of the North Coast’s economy, but it is becoming increasingly difficult for them to repay the debt on a decade-old federal loan,” Huffman said in the release. “The combination of interest payments, new fees, and rising fuel costs are putting small businesses in our coastal communities at risk.”

Read the full story here.

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