Sept. 27, 2022
The Honorable Joseph R. Biden
President of america
The White Home
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500
Expensive Mr. President:
Within the wake of Hurricane Fiona’s destruction, and on behalf of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, I ask that you just grant Puerto Rico a one-year exemption from the Jones Act.
A one-year waiver from the 102-year-old maritime legislation is a humanitarian necessity, vital to relieving struggling and serving to the three million folks of Puerto Rico rebuild and get better.
Hurricane Fiona hit Puerto Rico on Sept. 18 and drenched the island with 30 inches of rain, inflicting flash flooding and leaving greater than 900,000 folks with out energy. Thus far, not less than 21 folks have died because of this.
Fiona’s havoc exacerbates the injury attributable to Hurricane Maria, which in 2017 claimed virtually 3,000 lives and induced $40 billion in injury. 5 years later, Puerto Rico nonetheless has not totally recovered.
The Jones Act is partly in charge for this sluggish restoration. It has lengthy been a drain on Puerto Rico’s financial system. Analysis estimates that the legislation prices Puerto Rico as a lot as $1.5 billion yearly, with shoppers of meals and drinks shedding as a lot as $367 million.
Moreover, as a result of there are not any liquid pure fuel tankers compliant with the Jones Act, Puerto Rico should import all of its LNG from international sources — although the U.S. is the world’s largest LNG producer. With out entry to low cost U.S. LNG, Puerto Ricans should pay inflated prices for the gasoline, which generates greater than 40% of the island’s electrical energy.
The folks of Puerto Rico will want each spare greenback as they get again on their ft, and a one-year Jones Act waiver would assist mitigate the excessive prices of rebuilding.
The Jones Act is usually heralded as a bulwark for the U.S. maritime business and demanding to U.S. nationwide safety. However its effectiveness at attaining these objectives is in severe dispute. If U.S. safety actually does depend upon a privately owned fleet, there should be a extra equitable option to pay for such a coverage. Asking the residents of Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Alaska, Guam and different U.S. communities depending on ocean delivery to pay for a legislation that ostensibly advantages all the nation is solely unfair.
However greater than being unfair, the Jones Act hinders the U.S. navy’s means to supply catastrophe help. Each the U.S. Military Corps of Engineers and Puerto Rico’s Nationwide Guard have mobilized in Puerto Rico, and their means to successfully reply with provides from the mainland can be restricted by excessive Jones Act delivery prices.
Because the dire state of affairs in Puerto Rico demonstrates as soon as once more, the Jones Act is an obstacle to financial prosperity in good occasions and an precise humanitarian menace throughout occasions of disaster.
Subsequently, on behalf of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, I ask that you just instantly use your govt powers or different authorized means to grant a one-year Jones Act waiver to Puerto Rico, with a purpose to present it with fast entry to inexpensive supplies for cleanup, rebuilding and restoration.
We additionally ask that you just shortly approve any and all short-term waiver requests in Puerto Rico.
I sincerely hope you’ll ignore the small however highly effective Jones Act constituency and grant waivers for the larger good of Puerto Rico and all People who’re being harmed by this anachronistic legislation.
Thanks in your consideration.
E hana kākou (Let’s work collectively),
President and CEO
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
CC: U.S. Secretary of Protection Lloyd Austin
U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz
U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono
U.S. Rep. Ed Case
U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele