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  • Jones Act Resurfaces at Oil Spill Hearing

    Nearly 10 months after the Gulf oil spill, the Obama administration’s refusal to waive the Jones Act was still on the minds of a few Republicans at a House hearing last week.

    Two freshman lawmakers, Reps. Jeff Landry (R-LA) and Blake Farenthold (R-TX), pressed retired Adm. Thad Allen, the national incident commander for the oil spill, about the Jones Act. The law regulates maritime commerce in U.S. waters and between ports.

    Landry opened his questions by asking Allen if he felt the “waiver provisions in the Jones Act provide sufficient flexible during of emergencies” to which Allen simply answered, “Yes, they do.”

    Later, Farenthold noted that some of the individual waivers that were granted took 10 days to process and asked whether that was an unreasonable time during an emergency. Allen responded that the waivers requested were “standby waivers” and were not involved in an “extremist or urgency situation.” Allen added that he received quick waivers when necessary for previous operations.

    During the height of the spill, the Jones Act became a subject of much debate. Critics of the Obama administration said a temporary waiver would help with the cleanup. Keith Hennessey, the Bush administration’s point man for the Jones Act waivers during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, said President Obama should exert his executive authority and suspend the law for 75 days to help with the Gulf oil spill cleanup.

    The Jones Act also had its defenders at last week’s hearing. Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI) used her opening statement to note that Obama’s oil spill commission found the Jones Act in no way obstructed the cleanup effort. She maintained that the Jones Act was a “critical component of America’s maritime heritage” and blamed the media for misperception about the act.

    Matthew McKillip is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to Jones Act Resurfaces at Oil Spill Hearing

    1. George Colgrove, VA says:

      This is one set of hearings that will be worth every penny. So long as the probe into the mess uncovers all the federal crimes that were committed by the federal workforce and the staff at the White House. The results of this probe will help define how reliaqble the federal government is and will expose its political nature.

    2. David F. Murray, Bel says:

      Nero fiddled while Rome burned.

      Obama fiddled while the Gulf burned.

      Repeal the Jones Act.

      We don't compete because we can't compete.

      Time to compete.

    3. Mike, Wichita Falls says:

      What does it say about a law, be it Obamacare or the Jones Act, when temporary waivers must be issued to stave off disaster but what are essentially political losses? Behind closed doors in the WH, statements such as "some companies and unions are already making adjustments in their coverage, so let's exempt them until the next election" or "oil spill cleanup will take longer unless we allow foreign companies to help" are heard. Do these laws actually contain sections that explicitly give the POTUS the authority to suspend them when and to whom he pleases? If so, this is not the rule of law but the rule of men. If not, men have violated the law which would cost us lowly citizens our liberty or property.

    4. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      I think the Hearings are wonderful, but. The Dialog is far, far away from the Perfidy of Obama's Administration engineering this Gulf Spill Disaster with all those waivers of Due Diligence and Safety on the Deep Horizon Rig. I think the evidence supports an intentional Oil Spill with an evil intent, to use the Political fall out to further decimate the American Oil Industry. It is no secret the Demo-crats hate Industry, Free Enterprise and Capitalism. If it were in Court, this issue, Means, Motive and Opportunity, I could find them guilty in Jury. I am victim witness of the deconstruction of America, it isn't that hard to see. BP got paid off! The British pensioners paid for it! Quid Pro Quo is bleeding all over the place and we are still talking about the after effects. The EPA is using my tax money to bring down American Industry! I don't want that! That isn't Representation! That is what happened in the Gulf Spill, it was used to damage Gulf Oil. Gulf States. That's perfidy, man caused disaster. Gosh! That is the newspeak definition for terrorism.

      The Gulf Oil spill stinks. The Obama Administration's bungling of the Jones Act emergency waivers was proof to my ears at the time that the Demo-crats did every imaginable thing to make it worse after doing every imaginable thing to make it possible. I see High Crimes in plain sight but that is because I recognize the Demolition Plutocrats for what they are: International Criminals who usurped Representation and have established a Communist America all in slow motion! All above our heads! Perfidy and Treason. That is the kindest view I can take!

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    6. Lloyd Scallan (New O says:

      The first clue to recognize the lies and deception by Obama lackeys is the term "Obama's" oil spill commission. Does anyone think that Obama's hand picked commission members would find fault with the failure of Obama to handle this disaster?

      Almost from day one, Obama refused foreign help. He needed this "crisis" to end offshore drilling. The Jones Act, which is an almost 100 years old law, that was designed in part to stop "foreign" flag vessels from transporting U.S. goods and U.S. citizens from one U.S. port to another, thus protect American flag vessels owners and maritime unions. Yet Obama used this obscure law to delibertly keep specialized foreign flag skimming vessels away, to protect his union supporters as well as delibertly slow down the clean up effort. He needed a major reason to justify ending offshore drilling to placate his leftist, environmentalist supporters. Just ask yourself why did Bush wave the act without delay after Katrina and Obama refused to protect Southern states. Could it be that Louisiana, as well as other effected states, voted overwhelming for McCain.

      It's a disgrace that a once great leader with the USCG, Thad Allen, as well as other federal agencies heads, was used as pawns by Obama to delibertly throw up road blocks to stop local officals plans to protect marshes and beaches.

      Yet, a Rebublican,Candice Miller (R-MI) who has most likely never been near an offshore oil field, actually believe the findings of the commission and actually thinks that this law is a "critical component of our maritime heritage". Sails are part of our "maritme heritage"! A prime exampls of the absurdity of some in Congress that has no idea.

    7. Frank Jaworski, Saip says:

      The Jones Act has primarily been the most effective law for the protection of Mariner's and in the following purpose and policy of the United States it states clearly what the intentions are:"It is necessary for the national defense and for the proper growth of its foreign and domestic commerce that the United States shall have a merchant marine of the best equipped and most suitable types of vessels sufficient to carry the greater portion of its commerce and serve as a naval or military auxiliary in time of war or national emergency, ultimately to be owned and operated privately by citizens of the United States; and it is declared to be the policy of the United States to do whatever may be necessary to develop and encourage the maintenance of such a merchant marine, and, in so far as may not be inconsistent with the express provisions of this Act, the Secretary of Transportation shall, in the disposition of vessels and shipping property as hereinafter provided, in the making of rules and regulations, and in the administration of the shipping laws keep always in view this purpose and object as the primary end to be attained".

      Let us not fool ourselves into believing that the law was an obstruction to the clean up efforts in the gulf because the law deals primarily with:The cabotage provisions which restrict the carriage of goods or passengers between United States ports to U.S. built and flagged vessels. At least 75 percent of the crew members must be U.S. citizens. Moreover, the steel of foreign repair work on the hull and superstructure of a U.S.-flagged vessel is limited to 10 percent by weight This restriction largely prevents American shipowners from refurbishing their ships at overseas shipyards.

      We are and will always be a Maritime nation and will need well trained and experienced mariner's for for our commercial and national security needs and the Jones Act has been instrumental in providing this.

      As inferred from the above, the gulf oil spill did not originate in a port to be shipped to another port in the US. It originated as pollution in the water with the idea that we should use skimmers to process the spill and ship it to a port in the U and thus is outside of the jurisdiction of the law. At the point of "oil in the water" it falls under the Oil Pollution Act which provides the remedies for this problem.

      Clearly in regards to the Jones Act there is an intentional or unintentional obfuscation of what the law is intended to do in regards to situations such as these.

      I believe it was the failure of the current Administration to provide the necessary logistics and support to remedy the situation.

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    9. Douglas says:

      When you read all the facts on the jones act you can see how the w-house did the right thing. Befor you start to juge this w-house you have to remener the R-party has nevery taken quret steps in proteing our country. Only to destroe any one they dont agree with.

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