June 30, 2010

The Jones Act, Part 2

I wrote earlier about the Jones Act, wonder why the President hasn't issued a global waiver (as President Bush did during hurricanes) to allow foreign vessels to assist in the Gulf clean up.  A variety of articles friendly to the Administration have said the Jones act is not a problem and can and will be waived when needed.

Alas, the Times-Picayune discovers this is not so.  The Jones Act is preventing and delaying cleanup in the gulf:

In the end, he sold nine of the spill response boats to a Florida company last week, which made them American boats and circumvented the problems with the Jones Act. Vial believes that BP and the federal government have been overwhelmed by the number of people offering assistance and ideas, thus slowing down the whole response.

"To respond to the crisis, whether it's BP or the U.S. government, they may have created too many administrative steps and barriers that are making the whole process much lengthier," he said.

Sens. LeMieux, Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, and John Cornyn, R-Texas, have proposed legislation that would temporarily waive the Jones Act for oil spill response vessels. Although there is a Jones Act waiver process for foreign vessels during an oil spill, the law requires that the Coast Guard make a determination that "an adequate number" of U.S. oil spill response vessels "cannot be engaged to recover oil from an oil spill in or near those waters in a timely manner." And the foreign country offering the boats must agree to allow the United States similar privileges in their country.

As of last week, no Jones Act waivers had been granted. According to the joint information center for the response, six vessels involved in oil containment have applied for Jones Act waivers that are still pending.

As the oil continues to pour into the Gulf of Mexico and bleed onto the Gulf-Coast beaches, where is President Obama?

1 comment:

Jennifer said...
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