Sunday, June 13, 2010

What Do Protectionism, Union Power and Jones Act Have to Do with the Cleanup in the Gulf? A LOT

1. "The Merchant Marine Act of 1920 is a United States Federal statute that regulates maritime commerce in U.S. waters and between U.S. ports. Section 27, also known as the Jones Act, requires that all goods transported by water between U.S. ports be carried in U.S.-flag ships, constructed in the United States, owned by U.S. citizens, and crewed by U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents. The purpose of the law is to support provide protectionism for the U.S. merchant marine industry."
 
2. David Warren:  "We learned a simple thing this week: that the BP clean-up effort in the Gulf of Mexico is hampered by the Jones Act. This is a piece of 1920s protectionist legislation, that requires all vessels working in U.S. waters to be American-built, and American-crewed.  So while, for instance, the U.S. Coast Guard can accept such help as three kilometres of containment boom from Canada, they can't accept, and therefore don't ask for, the assistance of high-tech European vessels specifically designed for the task in hand."

3. Howard Portnoy: "In order to accept offers of help, which have come from Belgian, Dutch, and Norwegian firms that claim to possess some of the world’s most advanced oil skimming ships, Obama would need to waive the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 (also known as the Jones Act).  So why not simply waive the act? Other presidents have under similar circumstances. George W. Bush waived the Jones Act following Hurricane Katrina, allowing foreign ships into Gulf waters to aid in the relief effort. 
 
The explanation of Obama’s reluctance to seek this remedy is his cozy relationship with labor unions. Joseph Carafano of the Heritage Foundation is quoted as saying: “The unions see it as … protecting jobs. They hate when the Jones Act gets waived, and they pound on politicians when they do that. So … are we giving in to unions and not doing everything we can, or is there some kind of impediment that we don’t know about?"

HT: Joe Lais

14 Comments:

At 6/13/2010 8:43 PM, Blogger moneybagzz said...

Unions impeding results. Where have we heard that one before (G.M., SEIU, AFSCME)?

 
At 6/13/2010 9:05 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Well Obama can issue a waiver on the Jones act like Bush did post Katrina...

All in all though it means driving unemployment numbers...

 
At 6/13/2010 9:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think you would be hard pressed to find any union workers out on the cleanup. the offshore oil industry is just about the last bastion of non union work, they can't put up with the hours and work atmosphere of the offshore industry which says, 'do your job or we'll get someone else who will"
the jones act only prevents carrying cargo between two u.s. ports as i understand it and this came about in the alaska trade. there have been plenty of foreign vessels out there working in the oil patch but they never come into a u.s. port or if they do, they have to clear immigrations and customs. i have seen it.
in the past plenty of waivers have been granted. everything that the government does has a waiver granted by someone for some specific interest.

 
At 6/13/2010 10:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Obama would rather see the gulf mess get larger and cleanup obstructed in order to protect his union friends.

Regime change - Jan 20, 2013

 
At 6/14/2010 12:00 AM, Blogger Aaron Thompson said...

Professor Perry: You seem to have the law absolutely wrong. The Jones Act requires all Cabotage be done by US ships and US Crews. Cabotage is the transport of goods between ports of the same country. I.e. between New York and New Orleans. The Jones Act would have no effect on incoming foreign flagged ships that do not transport goods between ports.

If you think about it, this makes sense. If the law operated as you say it does, this would grant the US a giant monopoly over ships and sailors because of the size of the US shipping market.

You should check out your facts. Here are the relevant sections of the law: http://law.onecle.com/uscode/46A/883.html and http://www.maritimelawcenter.com/html/the_jones_act.html .

 
At 6/14/2010 12:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another way the unions are killing this country.

 
At 6/14/2010 3:14 AM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> All in all though it means driving unemployment numbers...

WTF does that have to do with it?

> So Obama would rather see the gulf mess get larger and cleanup obstructed in order to protect his union friends.

Regime change - Jan 20, 2013


Almost right:

Regime change part 1 - Jan 20, 2011
Regime change part II - Jan 20, 2013

 
At 6/14/2010 4:07 AM, Anonymous Roscoe said...

Aaron, in your own reference it says the act is applied pretty broadly. It sure sounds like an oil skimmer that delivered that oil to any US port or probably even to another vessel would be in violation.

See this from your second source:

" "The essential term that has given rise to various interpretations of what constitutes "coastwise
trade". The federal courts have given a very wide interpretation of the term. Essentially the term
applies to a voyage that beginning at any point within the United States and delivering a type of
commercial cargo to any other point within the United States.

Various cases have extended the definition of merchandise to include anything of a commercial
value including dredged materials used for land fill. The federal district courts have ruled that the
transportation of sewage sludge is not "merchandise" because it is a valueless commodity.

However, under the terms of 46 USC section 316 tow boats used to tow, even valueless commodities must be U.S. registered vessels and met all the terms and rules of the statute."

 
At 6/14/2010 10:32 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Apparently Aaron Thompson's point of view is clashing with that of others...

For what its worth from the Daily Caller Are unions Dock Blocking oil cleanup ships in the Gulf of Mexico?

'When asked why President Obama hasn’t waived the Jones Act — which President Bush put on hold to facilitate Katrina rescue efforts — White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said a suspension wasn’t necessary'...

From the Heritage blog: How the White House is Making Oil Recovery Harder

'Just three days after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, the Dutch government offered to provide ships outfitted with oil-skimming booms and proposed a plan for building sand barriers to protect sensitive marshlands. LA Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) supported the idea, but the Obama administration refused the help. All told, thirteen countries have offered to help us clean up the Gulf, and the Obama administration has turned them all down'...

 
At 6/14/2010 12:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Daniel Gross in Newsweek writes that our "unbridled pursuit" of energy is our downfall. What is he smoking. Oil companies can oly drill where the government tells them to. They have to a lease. They can't drill on land....Where is this "unbridled pursuit?"

 
At 6/14/2010 2:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

FOX News report on Jones Act and the Gulf spill

 
At 6/14/2010 8:52 PM, Anonymous Lyle said...

Re Anon at 12:24 oil companies can drill on land go to Midland Texas and drive around (see the series Black Gold for examples). However the majors are looking for elephant sized fields and there are none to be found onshore in the US, as 160 years of drilling have found the big fields. (The spill is about the size of Spindletop and 1/2 the size of the Lakeview spill in CA). However a small well of maybe 1000 bbls/day does not pay with the overhead of a major (they got out of this business in the late 1970s early 1980s and moved offshore and to foreign areas). Only the smaller independents work onshore a lot. (Anadrko on down). In addition a lot of little wells don't move the needed of returns on a major company.

 
At 6/26/2010 6:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This whole thing is a Faux News manufactured bunch on manure. The Jones Act has nothing to do with the cleanup. Here is a link with some good information:
http://factcheck.org/2010/06/oil-spill-foreign-help-and-the-jones-act/

 
At 6/30/2010 2:26 PM, Blogger Aaron Thompson said...

Again, here is further verification of my point above.

http://www.factcheck.org/2010/06/oil-spill-foreign-help-and-the-jones-act/

 

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