As a result of impacts caused by Hurricane Sandy, today Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano issued a temporary, blanket waiver of the Jones Act to immediately allow additional oil tankers coming from the Gulf of Mexico to enter Northeastern ports, to provide additional fuel resources to the region.
“The Administration's highest priority is ensuring the health and safety of those impacted by Hurricane Sandy and this waiver will remove a potential obstacle to bringing additional fuel to the storm damaged region,” said Secretary Napolitano.
Secretary Napolitano's action immediately allows additional ships, that would otherwise be barred, to begin shipping petroleum products from the Gulf of Mexico to Northeastern ports, increasing the access to fuel in the storm damaged region. The waiver is operative through November 13th.
The Administration is continuing to monitor the situation and is prepared to take additional actions as necessary to ensure that the energy needs of the region affected by Hurricane Sandy are met.
The American Maritime Partnership released the following statement regarding the American maritime industry working to ensure the delivery of petroleum to regions impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
"Nothing is more important right now than the safety and security of our fellow Americans. The American maritime industry is working around the clock responding to the emergency and ensuring the delivery of petroleum and other needed products to regions affected by Hurricane Sandy.
"To date, we are aware of no instances in which American vessels have not been able to meet transportation needs. Existing law allows for the granting of Jones Act waivers in certain circumstances where American vessels are not available. In such a circumstance, the American maritime industry will not stand in the way of needed Jones Act waivers. That has been our position in previous similar national emergencies, and it is our position today."
Below is a letter that AMP sent to President Obama regarding Hurricane Sandy:
Dear Mr. President:
The domestic maritime industry stands by ready to help in any way as our nation responds to the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. Nothing is more important right now than the safety and security of our fellow Americans.
Today our industry is working around the clock responding to this emergency. There is nothing new about that. The emergency response to every national disaster near water involves the active participation of our nation's domestic maritime industry. To give just one of many examples, American vessels transported nearly 500,000 individuals away from lower Manhattan on September 11, 2001, a response that has been called "the greatest sea evacuation in history, larger than the evacuation of Dunkirk in World War II...."
We are similarly committed to doing everything possible to assist the response to this disaster. Our industry is already actively facilitating the movement of petroleum and other products in the Northeast. A fleet of American vessels are standing by ready to assist as harbors and terminals reopen. We are not aware of any circumstances where American vessels have not been available to meet transportation needs. However, in certain circumstances existing law permits the granting of Jones Act waivers when no American vessels are available. In those circumstances, we will not oppose waivers that are necessary to facilitate delivery of petroleum products into the regions affected by Hurricane Sandy. That has been our position in previous similar national emergencies, and that is our position today.
Thank you. We stand by ready to help in any way.
The American Maritime Partnership