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
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