Jones Act Waived for Disaster Relief in Puerto Rico

29 September, 2017, 00:41 | Author: Alicia Barber
  • Image A combination of NOAA Satellite images taken at night shows Puerto Rico before and after Hurricane Maria

Trump spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump was responding to a request from Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello, and that the waiver would go into effect immediately.

Also complicating clean-up on the island is its precarious economy, damaged by overspending and teetering near bankruptcy - and some say due in part to the Jones Act, which makes it more expensive for Puerto Rico to receive USA products.

Last night, the chairman of the American Maritime Partnership told CBS4 News, shippers were not in favor of waiving the act.

Scott said the Puerto Rican leaders identified the need for supplies to be quickly shipped to the island.

"A foreign relief shipment to Puerto Rico, they have two choices", said Scott Miller, an worldwide trade expert with the Center for Strategic & global Studies. The entire island is in a communications and power blackout, Washingon Post reporters there say: "Estimates for the return of electricity and basic services will be measured not in days but in weeks and months".

Shipping company Crowley said it had 3,000 containers there, filled with clothes, food, medicine, water, construction materials and even cars. GOP Sen. John McCain claimed that the Jones Act made shipping supplies for Puerto Rico's recovery twice as expensive, CNN reported.

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

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Shipping containers have been piling up at Puerto Rico's ports in the aftermath of Maria, which struck on September 20, causing widespread flooding and major damage to homes, roads and other infrastructure.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke waived the law earlier this month to help ease fuel shortages in the Southeast following hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Meanwhile, despite agitation from powerful members in Congress to get rid of the law entirely so we don't keep having these debates after hurricanes, it's likely to stay on the books.

"The food is here, the water is here". We'll update as more information becomes available.

"No, I'm not satisfied because the fact is, is that we will not be satisfied until we stabilize the situation, which is why we work day in and day out, hour after hour, to try to alleviate the situation", he said. Puerto Rico's governor and other U.S. officials had argued that a waiver would expedite supplies to the island.

The island, located 1,150 miles off the southeastern coast of Florida, remains largely under blackout. Five of six priority sea ports were open, although some had restrictions on the size of the vessel or were for daylight use only, the Pentagon said. Also on the way are ambulances and 100 trucks carrying diesel and gasoline fuel. Scott gave reassurances that Florida will do all it can to speed supplies to Puerto Rico.

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