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Another eLoran Reprieve in the Works?

October 21, 2009

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And then again, maybe not. . . .

The enhanced Loran-C (eLoran) project, which appeared doomed by plans to eliminate the Loran program) following a House-Senate Conference Committee report on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations Act, 2010 (H.R. 2892/S. 1298), may have a new lease on life.

H.R. 3619 (Coast Guard Authorization Act for FY 2010), introduced September 22, cleared the House Transportation Committee with a requirement that DHS establish eLoran as the supplemental navigation system for the United States, which among other things could provide a backup system for GPS. The bill would prohibit Loran-C termination until 30 days after eLoran is certified to be operational.

Section 312 requires the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating (currently DHS) to establish eLoran as the supplemental navigation system for the United States. Under the Coast Guard authorization measure, the DHS secretary must also submit a plan and timeline for modernizing the remaining Loran-C stations, and a cost estimate for modernizing Loran-C infrastructure to meet eLoran specifications.

The section prohibits the Secretary from terminating or decommissioning the Loran-C program until 30 days after the Secretary certifies that the eLoran system is operational to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

On October 15, the full House  approved the conference report calling for elimination of Loran-C. The report is awaiting action by the Senate.

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