Jones Act Slowing Oil Spill Cleanup?
June 10, 2010 - 5:41 PM | by: Brian Wilson
Foreign companies possessing some of the world’s most advanced oil skimming ships say they are being kept out of efforts to clean up the oil spill in the Gulf because of a 1920’s law known as the Jones Act -- a protectionist law that requires vessels working in US waters be built in the US and be crewed by US workers.
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?”. . .
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.”
Waivers to the Jones Act were granted by the administration of George W. Bush in the days following hurricane Katrina. And today, the Obama White House said waivers might again be considered. . . .
Senator Bill Nelson is hearing from the folks back home in Florida, where they want all the skimmer ships they can get. He sent a letter to Admiral Thad Allen today which read in part:
“Admiral, I believe the orange mousse of oil that is now in Florida’s waters is more than enough evidence that we need to take advantage of every appropriate global resource. Please advise as to whether we are taking full advantage of the offers of assistance from other countries.”. .
After 50 plus days of oil flowing freely into the gulf, the question could be asked: Why do effective and proven foreign clean up ships remain on the sidelines? Carafano believes it may have something to do with the Obama administration’s close relationship with labor unions.
“Cause this is a big thing for unions,” Carafano said. “The unions see it as … protecting jobs. They hate when the Jones Act gets waived, and they pound on politicians when they do that. So … are we giving in to unions and not doing everything we can, or is there some kind of impediment that we don't know about?
If the Obama Administration needs an example of what can happen when global assets are allowed to tackle a massive oil spill, they need look no further than Saudi Aramco’s clean up of a massive wartime spill off the Kuwaiti coast in 1991. Aramco summoned every available ship to assist in the cleanup. The company claims it recovered 900,000 barrels of oil in roughly three months. The industry views that effort as the gold standard in oil spill cleanups.
The Beak be gone
Last edited by Catmando; 06-17-2010 at 02:56 PM.
Lets see BP has to put away 20 billion for clean up and restitution. This is about 1 years profit for them.
They had never said they would not pay for cleanup in fact they have said they will pay for everything.
So we force them to punish everyone whos pension plan had BP investments so our politician can say look how we spanked them.?
To make politicians look like they are doing something and feel better they forced them to suspend a 10 billion dollar dividend payment for prob 2 years.
Looks like that is where they are getting the 20 billion from.
Everyone who has BP holdings in pension funds loses 2 ways stock value has slipped 50% and now no dividend.
They were going to pay the dividend and have always said they would pay for everything cleanup related but paying the dividend was bad press.
Who actually are we punishing?
First fix leak and then crimanally charge and bring to trial those responsible if you have a case
They needed to speed up claims but how do you pay out to someone who cant verify income because it was mostly cash to get away from paying taxes
All of this is a cluster and everone should realize their are people in goverment who will make a fortune out of it.
In the words of Emanual Never let a good disaster slip though your hands without using it for political gain (paraphrased)
oh and who actually thinks the gulf will be cleaner then before the spill.
BP did not say it our wonderful goverment did. They think we are two year olds and they can tell us anything.
Kept the Bullet and the condo and joined the cig 20 restoration club.
The Beak be gone
Just like the wall street fiasco, I realize there is a LOT more to it than pointing a finger at bu$hco, but they deserve much of the blame for the current state of things, imo.
An interesting status report and comments from Allen on these subjects.
"As BP and federal officials struggle to deal with oil spreading hundreds of miles from Louisiana marshes to Florida beaches, reports have surfaced that countries such as the Netherlands have offered skimming vessels to assist with the containment, but they were rebuffed because the Jones Act, a 1920 law governing the use of foreign vessels in domestic trade, would limit their use.
But Allen said that he would be happy to consider using foreign vessels for the clean-up if someone were to make an official request.
"We are more than willing to consider Jones Act waivers," Allen said. "Nobody has come to me for a Jones Act waiver yet, but I am prepared to consider that."
Tony Giberson, Pensacola News Journal/The Associated Press
During a visit to Santa Rosa Island in Florida, Zachary Kaupp of New Orleans pulls his fishing lure out of the water at the Fort Pickens fishing pier only to find it covered in oil on Thursday.
Ken Wells, president of the Offshore Marine Services Association, does not believe that the Jones Act applies to the situation. Foreign vessels are already working at the accident site, and foreign skimming vessels are allowed to work, even close to shore. He views any offers to help as sales calls, and noted that the Coast Guard is probably already overwhelmed with offers from companies that claim to have the magic bullet to help.
Allen said that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Energy Secretary Steven Chu are reviewing a plan that BP filed at the government's request for how it will capture oil going forward, increase the capacity of the system, and have back-ups in place in case there's a problem or the ships reach their capacity of oil. The federal government expects to have comment soon.
As BP ramps up its new system with ships being brought in from as far away as the North Sea, the company will have a system in place by mid-July to capture 40,000 to 50,000 barrels per day of oil."
U.S. Representative Jeff Miller (R-FL-01) today met with President Barack Obama on Pensacola Beach to discuss the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster and cleanup.
Miller asked the President that every resource, both national and international, be made available to assist in the cleanup operations. He also reemphasized the importance of BP setting up an escrow account to allow local governments to function and small businesses to stay afloat.
“I told him I remain concerned that inadequate resources are being dedicated to containing and removing oil from the Gulf before it reaches our fragile coastline,” Miller said. “Skimmers are not running around the clock, more booming is needed, new ideas are not being evaluated and implemented, and there is a severe communications crisis between Unified Command and state and local officials.”
Miller and U.S. Senator George Lemieux (R-FL) both asked President Obama to waive the Jones Act which would allow skimmer vessels from foreign countries to participate in the cleanup.
“There are numerous reports that confirm offers by foreign corporations or governments to send skimmer vessels to the Gulf have been refused as a result of concerns arising from the Jones Act, which regulates the use of foreign-owned vessels between U.S. ports,” Miller said. “Every gallon of oil we pick up at sea is a gallon that doesn’t hit the beach or pollute a bay.”
In the final minutes of the meeting, Congressman Miller asked President Obama for a Gulf Opportunity Zone for the entire affected area, including Northwest Florida, similar to those created after Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana in 2005. Businesses in the Opportunity Zone would be allowed emergency tax relief and residents would be able to apply for grants and reduced-interest loans to offset losses from the disaster.
“President Obama was very receptive to the proposals, and I look forward to working together for both short term and long term solutions to this crisis,” added Miller.
The Beak be gone
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