(Washington, D.C.) – According to the Department of Homeland Security, the Jones Act will not be waived to help expedite and streamline the recovery effort in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria. The law – first enacted in 1920 – prohibits foreign ships from transporting goods between U.S. ports. The law is often waived during disaster recovery efforts, in an effort to expedite the delivery of relief to affected areas. It was waived during the recent hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which impacted Texas and Florida heavily.
Daniel Garza, President of The LIBRE Initiative, released the following statement:
“With its stringent rules on which ships may carry goods between U.S. ports, the effect of the Jones Act is to raise prices and limit the speed with which goods can be delivered. That’s never a good idea, and it’s why the Jones Act should be repealed. But it is especially true when disaster relief is a priority – and critical items like food, water, fuel, and other necessities are in short supply. That’s why the Jones Act was waived in response to hurricanes that hit Texas and Florida. In the case of an island such as Puerto Rico – where relief items can not be brought in by truck – it is even more critical. The administration should reconsider this decision, and push to get rid of the Jones Act for the whole nation once and for all.”