April 15, 2019


Sink the Jones Act: It's not helping anyone. (DAN GRANFIELD  APRIL 15, 2019, The Bulwark)

Banning foreign ships from delivering supplies from the American mainland to other American territories obstructs our disaster relief operations because an old and depleted fleet of Jones Act-eligible ships has to perform the entire lift. This causes delays and price increases during natural disaster recovery.During disasters, Congress and the president frequently waive the Jones Act in order to deliver aid. (During Hurricane Maria, President Trump waived the law to speed up support for Puerto Rico.) But these short-term waivers expire long before the relief and rebuilding processes are complete.

And it's not just disaster relief that's hampered by the Jones Act. It costs 3 to 5 times more to ship oil from the Gulf Coast to New England than it does to ship the same oil to Europe. Because of the Jones Act. This year the state of Massachusettsasserted that "no Jones-Act qualified carriers" were available to ship gas to the Northeast. Governors from all six New England states--three Republicans and three Democrats--came together torequest a Jones Act waiver.

Natural gas and oil shortages in the Northeast create price increases. And to alleviate these, New England states sometimes seek oil and gas from other sources. They often import oil from foreign countries like Trinidad and Tobago and even sometimes Russia.

And it's not like the Jones Act is still protecting America's shipbuilding industry. Since World War II, we've lost about two-thirds of our eligible shipyards and almost 95 percent of qualified ships. Jones Act-compliant ships are eight times more expensive than their foreign competitors. When the numbers are that big, no government is going to be able to make up the difference. In the end, the market simply moves elsewhere.

In March, Mike Lee introduced the"Open America's Water Act of 2019," which would repeal the Jones Act. It would allow all qualified vessels, both foreign and domestic, to trade between U.S. ports. so long as they cooperate with the security measures already in place.

There's no reason this shouldn't be a bipartisan issue. 

Posted by at April 15, 2019 12:01 AM