Is an antiquated law hampering oil clean-up efforts?

Mark Hemingway
Washington Examiner

Incredibly, the Jones Act, an old protectionist law requiring “vessels working in US waters be built in the US and be crewed by US workers” has not been waived in the BP clean-up efforts. Some of the best, most cutting edge oil clean-up crews and technology belong to other countries and they are willing to help, but the Jones Act is apparently still being enforced:

Joseph Carafano of the Heritage Foundation has been studying the matter and wonders, “Are we accepting all the international assistance in the maritime domain that we can, and is the Jones Act an impediment to that?”

The Coast Guard and the Administration are quick to point out that some foreign technology is being used in the current cleanup effort. Including:

– Canada’s offer of 3,000 meters of containment boom

– Three sets of COSEQ sweeping arms from the Dutch

– Mexico’s offer of two skimmers and 4200 meters of boom

– Norway’s offer of 8 skimming systems

But that is largely technology transferred to US vessels. Some of the best clean up ships – owned by Belgian, Dutch and the Norwegian firms are NOT being used. Coast Guard Lt. Commander, Chris O’Neil, says that is because they do not meet “the operational requirements of the Unified Area Command.” One of those operational requirements is that vessels comply with the Jones Act.

“Yes, it does apply,” said ONeil,“ I have heard no discussions of waivers.”

The rest is at the Washington Examiner.

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