Call for action: Ask Pres. Trump to suspend the Jones Act.

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Call for action: Ask Pres. Trump to suspend the Jones Act.

UPDATE 9÷28÷17

Trump tem­porar­ily lifts Jones Act to bol­ster Puerto Rico relief
THANK YOU MR. PRESIDENT

While the NFL self-​destroys, there are 3.5 mil­lion Amer­i­cans who have more imme­di­ate con­cerns: The ones liv­ing in Puerto Rico.

Seven days after Hur­ri­cane Maria, most of the island has no elec­tric­ity, no run­ning water, no inter­net. Cell phone com­mu­ni­ca­tions are going through the US mil­i­tary satel­lites, since the tow­ers are gone. The storm destroyed air­port radar sys­tems. Most roads look like this,

Roads in the moun­tain areas are worse yet, due to landslides.

Not that you can drive too far, since gaso­line can not be deliv­ered to gas stations.

A Face­book friend’s sis­ter described,

our town doesn’t look like a hur­ri­cane came through, it looks like a fire burned every­thing down.

In another town, my grandfather’s house is still stand­ing, roof, doors and win­dows blown out for the first time in its 100-​yr history.

Navy and Marine Corps are work­ing around-​the-​clock to reopen air­fields and clear debris from the main roads of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Vir­gin Islands.

Thou­sands of rel­a­tives and friends are send­ing help, among them the rap­per Pit Bull, who is send­ing a pri­vate jet to trans­port can­cer patients to the States for treat­ment — as soon as the air­ports are functioning.

The gov­er­nor, Ricardo Roselló, thanked the Trump admin­is­tra­tion for their prompt response, Patrick Poole lists,

  • Six com­mer­cial barges trans­ported and deliv­ered meals, water, gen­er­a­tors, cots, and other com­modi­ties to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Vir­gin Islands.
  • An air bridge is estab­lished, fly­ing three flights per day to St. Croix, each car­ry­ing approx­i­mately 33,000 meals.
  • The logis­tics sup­port ship SS Wright arrived car­ry­ing more than 1.1 mil­lion meals, and nearly one mil­lion liters of freshwater.
  • Two ship­ping barges with 1.2 mil­lion liters of water, 31 gen­er­a­tors, and more than 6,000 cots arrived in St. Thomas.
  • Two addi­tional ship­ping barges loaded with food, water, and emer­gency relief sup­plies are en route to the Caribbean Sea from Florida.
  • Mil­lions of addi­tional meals are being flown to Puerto Rico from stag­ing areas in Ken­tucky and Florida.
  • The Defense Logis­tics Agency (DLA) is trans­port­ing a ship­ment of 124,000 gal­lons of diesel fuel to Puerto Rico, with arrival in the com­ing days.

In the very short term, the best thing the Trump admin­is­tra­tion can do is to waive the Jones Act (a.k.a. Mer­chant Marine Act of 1920).

The law requires that goods trans­ported between U.S. ports be shipped on ves­sels built, majority-​owned and manned by Amer­i­cans. Think of it as a legally sanc­tioned shake­down for U.S. ship­ping interests.

Puerto Ricans pay dearly for this pro­tec­tion­ism, which reduces com­pe­ti­tion and raises costs. A 2012 Fed­eral Reserve Bank of New York report said the Jones Act helps explain why house­hold and com­mer­cial goods cost roughly dou­ble to ship from the East Coast to Puerto Rico than to the nearby Domini­can Repub­lic or Jamaica. Food and energy costs are far higher than on the mainland.

The Act has been sus­pended after Hur­ri­cane Kat­rina, super­storm Sandy, and after Hur­ri­canes Har­vey and Irma; but, outrageously,

the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­rity said Mon­day it won’t issue a Jones Act waiver for the ter­ri­tory. Spokesman David Lapan explained in an email that there are “suf­fi­cient num­bers of US-​flagged ves­sels to move com­modi­ties to Puerto Rico.” DHS argues that under U.S. law the agency can’t ask for a waiver unless there’s a national defense threat and there aren’t enough Jones Act-​compliant ships to carry goods.

Pres. Trump is vis­it­ing PR next Tues­day. I urge you to call the White House at Com­ments: 2024561111
Switch­board: 2024561414, and email, right now urg­ing the Pres­i­dent to sus­pend the Jones Act dur­ing this emergency.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin Amer­ica at Fausta’s blog

UPDATE 9/28/17

Trump temporarily lifts Jones Act to bolster Puerto Rico relief
THANK YOU MR. PRESIDENT

While the NFL self-destroys, there are 3.5 million Americans who have more immediate concerns: The ones living in Puerto Rico.

Seven days after Hurricane Maria, most of the island has no electricity, no running water, no internet. Cell phone communications  are going through the US military satellites, since the towers are gone. The storm destroyed airport radar systems. Most roads look like this,

Roads in the mountain areas are worse yet, due to landslides.

Not that you can drive too far, since gasoline can not be delivered to gas stations.

A Facebook friend’s sister described,

our town doesn’t look like a hurricane came through, it looks like a fire burned everything down.

In another town, my grandfather’s house is still standing, roof, doors and windows blown out for the first time in its 100-yr history.

Navy and Marine Corps are working around-the-clock to reopen airfields and clear debris from the main roads of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Thousands of relatives and friends are sending help, among them the rapper Pit Bull, who is sending a private jet to transport cancer patients to the States for treatment – as soon as the airports are functioning.

The governor, Ricardo Roselló, thanked the Trump administration for their prompt response, Patrick Poole lists,

  • Six commercial barges transported and delivered meals, water, generators, cots, and other commodities to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • An air bridge is established, flying three flights per day to St. Croix, each carrying approximately 33,000 meals.
  • The logistics support ship SS Wright arrived carrying more than 1.1 million meals, and nearly one million liters of freshwater.
  • Two shipping barges with 1.2 million liters of water, 31 generators, and more than 6,000 cots arrived in St. Thomas.
  • Two additional shipping barges loaded with food, water, and emergency relief supplies are en route to the Caribbean Sea from Florida.
  • Millions of additional meals are being flown to Puerto Rico from staging areas in Kentucky and Florida.
  • The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) is transporting a shipment of 124,000 gallons of diesel fuel to Puerto Rico, with arrival in the coming days.

In the very short term, the best thing the Trump administration can do is to waive the Jones Act (a.k.a. Merchant Marine Act of 1920).

The law requires that goods transported between U.S. ports be shipped on vessels built, majority-owned and manned by Americans. Think of it as a legally sanctioned shakedown for U.S. shipping interests.

Puerto Ricans pay dearly for this protectionism, which reduces competition and raises costs. A 2012 Federal Reserve Bank of New York report said the Jones Act helps explain why household and commercial goods cost roughly double to ship from the East Coast to Puerto Rico than to the nearby Dominican Republic or Jamaica. Food and energy costs are far higher than on the mainland.

The Act has been suspended after Hurricane Katrina, superstorm Sandy, and after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma; but, outrageously,

the Department of Homeland Security said Monday it won’t issue a Jones Act waiver for the territory. Spokesman David Lapan explained in an email that there are “sufficient numbers of US-flagged vessels to move commodities to Puerto Rico.” DHS argues that under U.S. law the agency can’t ask for a waiver unless there’s a national defense threat and there aren’t enough Jones Act-compliant ships to carry goods.

Pres. Trump is visiting PR next Tuesday. I urge you to call the White House at Comments: 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414, and email, right now urging the President to suspend the Jones Act during this emergency.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog