Kyrillos Introduces Resolution Urging Waiver of Jones Act in Times of Emergency

Kyrillos Introduces Resolution Urging Waiver of Jones Act in Times of Emergency

With a New Jersey-bound shipment of badly needed road salt still stuck at a Maine port and yet another snow storm forecast for Wednesday’s morning commute, Senator Joe Kyrillos today introduced a resolution urging federal authorities to waive the requirements of a nearly century old shipping law during certain states of emergency.

Delivery of New Jersey’s 40,000 ton order of rock salt from a Maine dock has been significantly delayed because of provisions of the Jones Act. Enacted in 1920, the act requires that maritime transport of cargo between two points in the United States be carried by U.S.-flagged ships and waivers of the requirement are only granted in the interest of national defense. While state and county rock salt supplies have been dangerously low because of repeat snow storms this winter, the state’s request for a waiver of the act to allow for the quickest delivery of the shipment was denied.

“While there’s the good intent of protecting American jobs behind this shipping law there has to be exceptions made when the delay of a shipment puts lives at stake,” said Kyrillos (R-Monmouth). “With the state’s salt supplies depleted from numerous storms this winter there was a dire need of getting the shipment to New Jersey as fast as possible regardless of what flag the ship was flying. A significant storm without salt would have forced roads to be closed or left untreated. We have luckily avoided disaster so far but with more snow forecasted for this week I urge federal officials to recognize this is a risk we can’t continue to take.”

The resolution urges the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Maritime Administrator to waive the requirements of the Jones Act for purposes of national defense and the protection of U.S. citizens during circumstances where a state of emergency has been called and a state’s ability to properly clear the roadways is compromised.

This winter, the New Jersey Department of Transportation has spent a record $82.3 million for snow removal and used over 370,000 tons of rock salt in order to make the roads safe for transportation. In January and February alone, the Governor declared a state of emergency four times due to severe winter weather conditions.

“In cases of emergency like the snow storm this month the safety of residents has to be put above the bureaucratic regulations of a decades old shipping regulation,” Kyrillos concluded.

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Grant Whelply
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