Day 60 In The Gulf: For God’s Sake Mr President – Waive The Jones Act And Ask For Help Now!

 

[McAuleys World Comments In Bold Blue]

Admiral Allen Provides Guidance to Ensure Expedited Jones Act Waiver Processing Should It Be Needed

WASHINGTON — National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen today announced the development of specific guidance to ensure accelerated processing of requests for Jones Act waivers should they be received as a part of the BP oil spill response.

[How disingenuous, how political, “accelerated processing of requests for Jones Act waivers should they be received”… should they be received … the entire Nation is screaming for you to help and all the Feds can do is concoct this lame response]

Currently, 15 foreign-flagged vessels are involved in the largest response to an oil spill in U.S. history. No Jones Act waivers have been granted because none of these vessels have required such a waiver to conduct their operations in the Gulf of Mexico.

[All 15 of the vessels are currently working out side of the United States 12 mile territorial limit, only 2 of them are skimmers, there are 8 support vessels and 5 vessels delivering booms. The “Skimmer vessels” work in teams, the :Skimmer Vacuums the oil out of the water while the support vessels act as the vacuum bags. Thousands of additional vessels are need and have been needed for weeks]

However, in order to prepare for any potential need, Admiral Allen has provided guidance to the Coast Guard Federal On-Scene Coordinator, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and the U.S. Maritime Administration to ensure any Jones Act waiver requests receive urgent attention and processing.

[“Urgent attention”!  Waive the “Jones Act” today. The oil continues to flow. The oil continues to pool. Our shores and estuaries are under assault. Potential need? What more do you need to hear from the American people. This is incompetence, Government incompetence at its worst]                    

“While we have not seen any need to waive the Jones Act as part of this historic response, we continue to prepare for all possible scenarios,” said Admiral Allen. “Should any waivers be needed, we are prepared to process them as quickly as possible to allow vital spill response activities being undertaken by foreign-flagged vessels to continue without delay.”

[The Nation is well aware of your response and exactly how inadequate it has been. The entire Gulf is screaming for additional assistance and your response is  “While we have not seen any need to waive the Jones Act”, where exactly have you been looking?]                    

To date, the administration has leveraged assets and skills from numerous foreign countries and international organizations as part of this historic, all-hands-on-deck response, including Canada, Germany, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization and the European Union’s Monitoring and Information Centre. In some cases, offers of international assistance have been turned down because the offer didn’t fit the needs of the response.

[This is a disgusting. A “Cover Your Ass” political lie. See the article below with CNBC Rick Santelli. Thirteen nations offered assistance to the United States. The Obama Administration, through the State Department answered no. ANSWERED NO! ]

Generally, federal law prohibits a foreign-flagged vessel from transporting merchandise between points in the United States encompassed by the Coastwise laws. CBP makes determinations as to whether or not the Jones Act applies to the activities of a foreign-flagged vessel operating within U.S. waters.

[Mr. President, swallow your pride, admit your mistake in turning the pro-offered help away and get on with the job at hand, clean up this spill.]

Even if the Jones Act applies, a foreign flagged vessel can still conduct certain planned operations as part of the BP oil spill response if the vessel is an oil spill response vessel and meets the requirements of 46 USC § 55113.

[For God’s sake Mr. President, you had the State Department turn away assistance from 13 Nations, telling them that the Jones Act prevented them from providing assistance – don’t play politics at the expense of our Gulf Coast and its people. Admit your mistake today, waive the Jones Act and ask for those Nations to send the help they offered]

The guidance provided by Admiral Allen would route waivers related to the BP oil spill response through the Federal On-Scene Coordinator, who will forward requests immediately through the National Incident Commander for expedited clearance.

[We don’t need more administrative procedures. We need more vessels, booms and berms., There are enough  Attorneys involved already Mr. President. I’m surprised that these requests don’t need to be reviewed by AG Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano. Eliminate the red tape, wave the Jones Act – inspect the foreign ships for security and safety reasons and let them get to work. Stop the politics and admit the mistake] 

A Jones Act waiver can be submitted by any interested party, either inside or outside the U.S. government.

[“A Jones Act waiver can be submitted by any interested party”. I could just scream. Governor Jindal in Louisiana, Governor Perry in Texas, Governor Riley in Alabama, Florida Attorney General McCollum have asked for you to wave the Jones Act.  How much more of an “interested” does a party need to be?] 

The Jones Act, passed in 1920, and similar laws governing coastal shipping were created to encourage development of American merchant marine for national defense and commercial purposes.

The Unified Command continues to look at all available options for assistance as we continue to fight BP’s oil from impacting our shores and our communities. Assistance provided to date includes containment and sorbent boom, skimmers and containment vessels, and engineers and scientists with vital experience in oil spill cleanup operations. http://www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com/go/doc/2931/660195/  

 [“The Unified Command continues to look at all available options for assistance.” Then wave the Jones Act and ask, immediately, for the assistance that we previously turned away.]

 Florida Attorney General McCollum calls on President to waive federal act hindering oil spill response efforts: 

Florida Attorney General McCollum today sent a letter to President Obama asking for a limited waiver of the Jones Act, which mandates that the transportation of material between U.S. points be reserved for U.S.-built, owned, and documented vessels. The Attorney General noted the Unified Area Command has treated compliance with the Jones Act as an operational requirement, mandating that the foreign equipment be transferred to U.S. ships, a very time-consuming process that is hindering immediate response.

“This federal law should not stand in the way of relief to our natural resources and economies,” wrote the Attorney General. “The limited use of foreign vessels to aid in the cleanup of the massive Deepwater Horizon oil spill will not likely impede U.S. trade and commerce. More importantly, vessels with advanced cleanup capabilities should not be turned away during our time of need.”

The Jones Act has been waived as part of disaster response in the past, including a waiver to assist in response to Hurricane Katrina.

A copy of the letter is available online at: http://myfloridalegal.com/webfiles.nsf/WF/MRAY-86BNSJ/$file/ObamaLetter.pdf

If you have any questions or need additional information, please call the Attorney General’s Communications Office at 850.245.0150.

http://www.myfloridalegal.com/newsrel.nsf/newsreleases/BE412691CA37D0E28525773F0061B2E5

 

Dallas Investment Banker Requests Jones Act Waiver to Send Skimmers to Gulf, Sends Open Letter to Admiral Allen

Posted : Thu, 17 Jun 2010 17:05:50 GMT
Author : Allegiance Capital Corporation
Category : Press Release

DALLAS, June 17 /PRNewswire/ — Fred McCallister, an investment banker with Allegiance Capital Corporation, sent a letter to Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen today asking for a limited waiver of the Jones Act, to enable 12 to 25 foreign flagged skimmer ships to assist in clean-up efforts in the Gulf.

“Many in the Gulf have been calling for this equipment, which can collect 3,500 gallons of oil per hour per vessel from Gulf waters. With estimates now at 2.5 million gallons of oil spilling into the Gulf every day, the urgency can’t be overstated,” said McCallister, a Vice President at Allegiance Capital.

The Jones Act has been waived as part of disaster response in the past, including a waiver to assist in response to Hurricane Katrina. More recently it has been waived to support renewable energy development efforts off of the coast of Delaware. Several Gulf state leaders have asked for a general waiver of the Jones Act this week.

Mr. McCallister has 12 skimming vessels specifically designed to remove surface oil from the Gulf that are immediately available and at least 13 more that can be made available over the next few weeks. The firm also has specialized vessels for deploying oil booms and providing housing for personnel working in the Gulf of Mexico on the BP oil spill cleanup.

SOURCE Allegiance Capital Corporation  http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/dallas-investment-banker-requests-jones-act-waiver-to-send-skimmers-to-gulf-sends-open-letter-to-admiral-allen-96577309.html

Djou calls for Jones Act waiver to aid oil cleanup

US Rep. Djou calls for Jones Act waiver so foreign ships can aid oil spill cleanup     

On Wednesday June 16, 2010, 11:04 am EDT

HONOLULU (AP) — U.S. Rep. Charles Djou is calling on President Barack Obama to waive a 90-year-old law so foreign ships can help respond to the huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The statute, known as the Jones Act, requires vessels transporting goods between states to have been built in the United States, be crewed and owned by U.S. citizens, and fly the U.S. flag.                                                                      

Djou says it has blocked vessels from Mexico, Canada and Belgium from assisting in the cleanup.

A Republican, Djou opposes the statute because he contends it results in higher prices for Hawaii consumers.

Most of Hawaii’s political leaders support it, as do the two companies that control shipping between Hawaii and the mainland, Matson Navigation Company and Horizon Lines Inc.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Djou-calls-for-Jones-Act-apf-1755928135.html?x=0

BP Oil Spill: Against Gov. Jindal’s Wishes, Crude-Sucking Barges Stopped by Coast Guard

59 Days Into Oil Crisis, Gulf Coast Governors Say Feds Are Failing Them

Eight days ago, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal ordered barges to begin vacuuming crude oil out of his state’s oil-soaked waters. Today, against the governor’s wishes, those barges sat idle, even as more oil flowed toward the Louisiana shore.

“It’s the most frustrating thing,” the Republican governor said today in Buras, La. “Literally, yesterday morning we found out that they were halting all of these barges.”

Watch “World News” for David Muir’s report from Louisiana tonight. 

Sixteen barges sat stationary today, although they were sucking up thousands of gallons of BP’s oil as recently as Tuesday. Workers in hazmat suits and gas masks pumped the oil out of the Louisiana waters and into steel tanks. It was a homegrown idea that seemed to be effective at collecting the thick gunk.

“These barges work. You’ve seen them work. You’ve seen them suck oil out of the water,” said Jindal.

http://abcnews.go.com/WN/bp-oil-spill-gov-bobby-jindals-wishes-crude/story?id=10946379

Fla. Republicans ask Obama to waive Jones Act

PENSACOLA, Fla. — U.S. Sen. George LeMieux and U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller want President Barack Obama to waive a law they say is keeping foreign oil skimmers out of the Gulf of Mexico.

The Florida Republicans sent a letter to Obama on Monday and plan to discuss the issue with him Tuesday during the president’s visit to Pensacola to assess the BP oil spill in the gulf.

The federal maritime administrator in emergencies can waive the Jones Act that bars foreign ships from carrying cargo and passengers between U.S. ports.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat, who also was in Pensacola on Monday, said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has assured him skimmers from the Netherlands and other European counties are on their way.

___

June 14, 2010 06:47 PM EDT

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/state/fla-republicans-ask-obama-to-waive-jones-act-747394.html

Jones Act: Does Gulf oil spill cleanup need more foreign boats?

As the Gulf oil spill grows, President Obama has laid out a bold Oval Office plan to make things right in the Gulf and change national energy policy in the process.

What Mr. Obama hasn’t done is announce that he’s calling in maritime mercenaries – foreign skimmers or Saudi supertankers – to help deal with the Gulf oil spill cleanup.

Well flow-rate estimates are now up to as many 60,000 barrels a day (2.5 million gallons), with about 18,000 barrels a day being captured by BP. Congressmen along the coast are pleading for a better and more coherent response, and pressure is growing to waive the protectionist Merchant Marine Act of 1920 (known as the Jones Act, for its sponsor), which blocks foreign fleets from helping in the Gulf.

Specifically, the Jones Act requires that any ships transporting goods from state to state be  built in the US,  crewed by Americans, and owned by Americans. On Monday, Sen. George LeMieux and Rep. Jeff Miller, both Florida Republicans, sent a letter to Obama requesting that he waive the act.

Political scientists say that waiving the Jones Act could be a big symbolic step for Obama as he struggles to come to grips – not just with the spill, but with the other demands on his presidency.

“It’s been an improvised response so far…. Any kind of dramatic step they can take is probably going to be beneficial,” says Alan Abramowitz, a political scientist at Emory University in Atlanta.

the president’s assurances come against a backdrop of reports of misused and ineffective boom, a scarcity of skimmers, and some of the workers, according to one labor supplier quoted by the New York Times, sitting under trees and collecting checks. Dissatisfied with the federal response, Louisiana is moving ahead with its own plans to protect its coast. And in one small Alabama town, a frustrated volunteer fire chief has risked jail for rallying a local response to oncoming oil.

Despite this frustration, the Coast Guard says it has received no requests to waive the Jones Act – from the president or from anyone else.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/csm/20100616/ts_csm/308534_1

[How dishonest. The Administration has the State Department intercept the offer of help and turn it away citing the Jones Act as the reason, then the “site commander” claims, well no one has asked us for a waiver. 13 nations offered help and we turned them away, telling them “No Thanks – Jones Act”.  Admit the mistake, waive the Act, and ask the Nations to send the help they offered in the first place]

Antiquated Law Prevents Foreign Naval Aid for Gulf Says Santelli, Heritage Foundation

Jones Act of 1920 keeps out European ships that could complete clean-up in four months vs. estimated nine months some experts believe it will take.

When a protectionist law is enacted and nearly a century later it is inhibiting a recovery from major ecological catastrophe, it’s probably time to scrap it or at least temporarily waive it.

But instead a nearly century old provision known as the Jones Act of 1920 is wielding the wrath of unintended consequences. According to the Heritage Foundation, this protectionist measure was put in place to defend the American  maritime industry, but is endangering far more jobs than it is protecting. “The Jones Act, which is supposedly about  protecting jobs, is actually killing jobs,” Heritage co-authors James Dean and Claude Berube wrote in a June 8 The Foundry post. “The jobs of fishermen, people working in tourism and others who live along the Gulf Coast and earn a living there are being severely impacted.

 There are also additional private sector jobs which are NOT being created in the United States since the Jones Act effectively prices U.S. based companies out of the ability to be competitive on the competitive global market. As we strive to develop new technologies for a cleaner environment at sea, the Jones Act continues to hobble our own capabilities, sometimes with devastating results.”

And CNBC’s Rick Santelli also noted this impediment to recovery. According to the Belgian newspaper De Standaard, European firms could complete the task in four months, rather than an estimated nine months if done only by the U.S., and just three months if working with U.S. firms.

“They are playing this war of words,” Santelli said on CNBC’s June 9 “Closing Bell.” “Just consider this, there’s an old law on the books Ron, called the Jones Act of 1920. I’ve looked at three articles in a Belgian newspaper. They have special ships that could make a big difference in cleaning this up. But they were told by the State Department that they can’t because that act, Jones of 1920 prohibits ships that aren’t made in the U.S. to do such things in U.S. waters.”

And Dean and Berube suggest the law should be done away with altogether.

“The Jones Act needs to be waived now in light of this catastrophe and permit those whom we have helped and cooperated with in the past to assist us in our need,” they wrote. “After waiving the Jones Act for the Gulf clean up effort, Congress and the administration should repealing it all together.”

 http://www.businessandmedia.org/articles/2010/20100609163127.aspx   

Update: Day 69

Day 68: Why isn’t the A-Whale in the Gulf yet?

posted at 1:30 pm on June 27, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

The A-Whale bills itself as the largest open-water oil skimmer in the world, and it’s at least very impressive. Originally an oil and ore tanker, the ship’s owners recently refitted the ship to do exactly the kind of work that the US so desperately needs in the Gulf of Mexico, and to do it on a vastly larger scale than current operations can handle. According to the ship’s project manager, the entire American effort in 66 days has skimmed off 600,000 barrels of oil. The ship’s owners claim that A-Whale can skim 500,000 barrels a day.

So where is the A-Whale now? In the Gulf? Not yet. It’s on its way there after being tied to a dock in Norfolk, Virginia, and won’t be allowed to join the cleanup effort until the Coast Guard and the EPA figure out whether it meets their standards (h/t Deb Singer on Twitter):

After making a brief stop in Norfolk for refueling, U.S. Coast Guard inspections and an all-out publicity blitz intended to drum up public support, a giant tanker billed as the world’s largest oil skimming vessel set sail Friday for the Gulf of Mexico where it hopes to assist in the oil-cleanup effort.

The Taiwanese-owned, Liberian-flagged ship dubbed the “A Whale” stands 10 stories high, stretches 1,115 feet in length and has a nearly 200-foot beam. It displaces more water than an aircraft carrier. …

But a number of hurdles stand in his way. TMT officials said the company does not yet have government approval to assist in the cleanup or a contract with BP to perform the work.

That’s part of the reason the ship was tied to pier at the Virginia Port Authority’s Norfolk International Terminals Friday morning. TMT and its public-relations agency invited scores of media, elected officials and maritime industry executives to an hour-long presentation about how the ship could provide an immediate boost to clean-up efforts in the Gulf.

TMT also paid to fly in Edward Overton, a professor emeritus of environmental sciences at Louisiana State University, to get a look at the massive skimmer.

Overton blasted BP and the federal government for a lack of effort and coordination in their dual oil-spill response and made a plea to the government to allow the A Whale to join the cleanup operation.

To be clear, the A-Whale has not yet been tested on the scale needed in this cleanup. Limited testing, the ship’s owners say, have proven the concept of their new skimming technique. They have already begun plans for a B-Whale to do the same work, but until someone gets the ship into the game, no one will know for certain whether it can operate at the full, advertised capacity.

However, the answer to that should be so what?

We badly need increased skimming capacity. Even if this ship only ever gets one load of oil skimmed, that’s a potential 500,000 barrels of oil out of the Gulf, or an advance of 66 days at present rate.

While the Coast Guard needs to ensure seaworthiness, the EPA’s regulatory hurdles are in this case ridiculous. We’re already in the worst-case scenario. Even if the A-Whale doesn’t skim a single barrel of oil, they can hardly make the situation worse than it is right now.

This, by the way, is Day 68 of the Gulf crisis. The A-Whale didn’t get refitted on Day 66; this work had to have been done over months, if not years. Shouldn’t the government have known about the existence of this ship two months ago, and been working on certifying it immediately? The A-Whale shouldn’t have had to stop at Norfolk at all to get the nation’s attention, but should have been hired to steam directly to the Gulf and get to work immediately. It’s indicative of a crisis management team that is spending more time worrying about regulations and red tape than cleaning up the mess, just as we saw with Packgen’s boom.

http://hotair.com/archives/2010/06/27/day-68-why-isnt-the-a-whale-in-the-gulf-yet/

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