Termination of LORAN-C

LORAN-C was a ground-based navigation system operated by the U.S. Coast Guard. In May 2009, President Obama declared the system obsolete and announced plans to terminate it.
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Congress debated whether to retain and upgrade the LORAN-C infrastructure to become eLORAN, a national backup to GPS. Debates occurred during the development of two bills related to the Coast Guard. In October 2009, Congress enacted an appropriations measure allowing LORAN-C termination.

In February 2014, the House transportation committee reopened the topic during a hearing on navigation aids (learn more) and the markup of the 2014 Coast Guard authorization bill.

Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014

Bill Status

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House
Subcommittee
House
Committee
House
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House-Senate
Conference
Committee
House
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President
2/11/2014
H.R. 4005
3/25/2014
H.R. 4005
4/1/2014
H.R. 4005
 
Senate
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Senate
Floor
  Senate
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TBD      

Section 221 of the House bill bars the dismantling or disposal of LORAN infrastructure for one year unless the DHS Secretary provides a determination that it is not required to provide a backup to GPS. The provision also authorizes agreements with other public or private entities to develop eLORAN. View text

Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2010

President Obama signed this act into law on October 28, 2009.

Section 559 allows termination of LORAN-C after:

  1. The Coast Guard Commandant certifies the termination will not adversely impact maritime safety; and
  2. The Secretary of Homeland Security certifies the LORAN-C infrastructure is not needed as a backup to GPS or to meet any other federal navigation requirement.

LORAN-C began shutting down in February 2010, following the necessary certifications.

Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010

President Obama signed this act into law on October 15, 2010.

Early versions called for the maintenance of LORAN-C and its upgrade to eLORAN as a supplemental navigation system for the United States.

After passing the DHS appropriations act terminating LORAN-C, Congress amended the Coast Guard authorization act to eliminate all direct references to the system.

Section 219 of the final law directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to conclude a study of whether a single, domestic system is needed as a backup navigation system to GPS.

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