The law mentioned above was suspended for Texas when the Super Storm hit there. Texas is got one star in their flag and so does the PR flag....so what is the problem? The Governor has requested the Military to allow these shipments but it has to come down from the White House.(adamfoxie)
Members of Congress are urging the Trump administration to consider a request to suspend shipping restrictions that would allow more fuel and emergency supplies to reach Puerto Rico.
The Jones Act, which prohibits foreign-flagged vessels from picking up and delivering fuel between U.S. ports, was suspended from Sept. 8 through 22 to allow shipments to Texas and Florida in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Puerto Rico was included under that waiver for petroleum products.
However, the Trump administration hasn't issued a similar waiver yet for Puerto Rico specifically after Hurricane Maria, despite massive fuel shortages on the island that relies on diesel for much of its power.
Any request for a waiver must be in the interest of national defense. The Defense Department, which made a request for Hurricane Harvey, hasn't made a new request for Puerto Rico yet. If another agency or shipping company makes the request, it must also be reviewed by the U.S. Maritime Administration.
Any request formally goes to Customs and Border Protection and the secretary of Homeland Security.
Gregory Moore, a spokesman for Customs and Border Protection, said in a statement that there was “sufficient capacity” of U.S.-flagged vessels to serve Puerto Rico. Department of Homeland Security officials announced a Wednesday morning news conference to discuss the act.
The Defense Department said in a statement Wednesday that the sea-based response to the disaster so far will shift to a land-based approach for a longer-term recovery to help the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the local government.
“Fuel distribution remains the top FEMA priority,” the statement said. “Multiple DOD elements delivered fuel and continue route-clearance operations.”
The U.S. Virgin Islands, which were hit by multiple hurricanes, have a permanent waiver to the Jones Act under the law, but Puerto Rico wasn't included in that provision.
The waiver request the department received from a handful of House members is unusual, but the department is considering it. A decision is not expected Wednesday, according to a senior administration official, who spoke on background in a conference call with reporters.
House members led by Rep. Nydia Velázquez, D-N.Y., urged the department to suspend the restrictions for Puerto Rico.
“When Hurricane Maria savaged the Island, many of our deepest fears were realized,” Velázquez said. “With a power grid that already faced serious infrastructure problems, the storm has shut down power for the entirety of Puerto Rico."
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., also wrote to the department urging a waiver of the act after the restrictions were lifted twice during the past month. He urged "a full repeal of this archaic and burdensome act."
“These emergency waivers have been valuable to speed up recovery efforts in the impacted regions," McCain said. "However, I am very concerned by the department’s decision not to waive the Jones Act for current relief efforts in Puerto Rico, which is facing a worsening humanitarian crisis following Hurricane Maria."
Bart Jansen, USA TODAY