Nearly two and a half months into one of the worst oil spills in U.S. history, the administration has opted to waive the Jones Act. The waiver will allow other countries to offer their services in cleaning up the oil and possibly capping the spill. Nebraska’s Third District Congressman Adrian Smith says the wavier is a good thing.
“Now is not the time to distract with lawsuits, to distract with protectionist policies, we want all the resources possibly available and I’m greatful that other coutries have offered their assistance, whether it’s an ocean going vessel or whether it’s other resources, I’m greatful that they’re pitching in and let’s take advantage of that.”
The Jones Act specifically provides a federal framework for maritime labor relations and contains provisions requiring ships working in U.S. waters to be U.S. built, owned and operated. The waiver will allow the use of vessels that wouldn’t normally be legal, including so-called “skimmers” that can pull oil off the surface of the gulf waters. A recent example of a waiver of the Jones Act occurred in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.