Jones Act Waived for Disaster Relief in Puerto Rico

Posted September 29, 2017

This spring, the Trump administration sided with the oil industry in withdrawing an Obama-era proposal that required companies drilling in the Gulf of Mexico to use more USA ships and crews.

The Jones Act is a century-old law that requires all goods shipped between US ports be carried on USA owned-and-operated ships and has been central to the criticism around the pace of the response to the crisis in Puerto Rico. "It will go into effect immediately".

But it has made the price of goods in Puerto Rico more expensive than those on the U.S. mainland or other Caribbean islands.

Duke characterized the US response in Puerto Rico as a "good news story in terms of our ability to reach people and the limited number of deaths that have taken place after such a devastating hurricane".

Between calls to boycott the National Football League and to support repeal of the Affordable Care Act, Trump's few tweets and retweets about the disaster in Puerto Rico have been vague and largely self-congratulatory.

Mr Trump has been criticised over his seemingly lax response to the disaster in Puerto Rico, compared the federal response to hurricanes in Texas and Florida, with even Barbadian singer Rihanna tweeting the President urging him to not to "let your people die like this". The Jones Act requires ships that deliver goods between American ports to be American-built, which isn't a big deal for most Americans.

The Department of Homeland Security had said as recently as Monday that the law would not be suspended.

Reports of isolated us citizens struggling in the heat without electricity and running low on food and water have now spurred the Pentagon to throw resources into the relief effort even though they haven't been specifically requested by territorial officials.

He says President Donald Trump has waived a matching funds requirement, which means the cash-strapped island won't have to contribute to the initial costs of the federal assistance. Critics have called the act anachronistic and argue that it is stalling recovery efforts in the badly damaged island territory that was hit by two massive storms in quick succession this month. He also said Trump's short-term waiver of the Jones Act was not enough.

The $40 million in "quick release" funds is meant to restore essential traffic on Puerto Rico's roads and limit further damage, in order to facilitate long-term fix work and recovery efforts.

Bloomberg News reported Thursday that mountains of aid had already arrived at Puerto Rico's ports, but was languishing on docks waiting for distribution.

"We want to make sure that we're ready from the day the first person comes just in case that we have a large number or just that one person", Robert Brenker, director of personnel for education in Waterbury, said.