Plan now for Jones Act waiver
From Grassroot Institute, August 24, 2018
As Hawaii braces for Hurricane Lane, the challenges of rebuilding after a natural disaster have raised a vital question: Will the state be granted a Jones Act waiver to help it obtain emergency supplies?
The destruction caused by hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria in 2017 all brought the Jones Act — and how it hampers the shipment of vital supplies — into the popular consciousness. The Trump administration quickly issued Jones Act waivers following Harvey and Irma, which seriously affected fuel shipments from the Gulf of Mexico. However, a waiver for Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria was slower in coming. Debate raged for days before the president granted a 10-day waiver in response to a request from the governor of Puerto Rico.
Jones Act waivers for areas hit by hurricanes have become more common, but they aren’t automatic. Limited waivers were granted after Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. Opponents of the waivers claim they aren’t necessary, won’t help or won’t result in additional shipments of supplies. Following Hurricane Rita, the U.S. shipping industry claimed there were sufficient Jones Act ships to help.
So what does this mean for Hawaii as its residents stare down the most dangerous hurricane in decades?
Waivers are granted on the theory that they’re necessary for national security. With multiple military installations and a strategically important location in the Pacific, it should be easy to make the case that any natural disaster in the islands affects national defense. Of course, you also need to request a waiver, and here the Grassroot Institute has decided to step in.
Few major political figures in Hawaii have dared to oppose the well-heeled Jones Act interests, so the Grassroot Institute decided not to wait until after the disaster to ask for help. On Wednesday, we sent a letter to President Donald Trump, requesting a Jones Act waiver for Hawaii if the hurricane hits our islands.
Though we cannot know how much damage Lane will cause, we know how easy it would be for critical shortages of supplies and fuel to hamstring our recovery efforts. A Jones Act waiver would help keep the flow of help and goods coming when Hawaii would need them most.
In the bigger picture, the fact that a waiver would help Hawaii during an emergency is evidence that the Jones Act needs to be modernized to eliminate the harm that it does when we’re not in a crisis.
But for now, we hope that the president will hear our request and grant Hawaii a waiver that will help us recover from Hurricane Lane as quickly as possible.
Ehana kākou! (Let’s work together!)
Keli'i Akina, Ph.D.
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Grassroot Institute of Hawaii sends Jones Act waiver request to President Trump
Grassroot Institute president says a waiver will help island families rebuild
News Release from Grassroot Institute
HONOLULU, Aug. 23, 2018 >> Grassroot Institute of Hawaii President Keli‘i Akina has sent a request for a Jones Act waiver to President Donald Trump, hoping that it will help island residents rebuild after any damages caused by Hurricane Lane.
The letter also was sent to U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielson, U.S. Chief of Cargo Security Lisa Burley, and U.S. Director of Border Security & Trade Compliance Division Glen Vereb.
Burley responded today that she is in receipt of the letter, which reads:
Dear Mr. President:
As Hurricane Lane approaches the Hawaiian Islands, we ask that you waive the Jones Act for our state, should the need arise.
The islands already are suffering shortages of badly needed emergency supplies, and a waiver of the Act would help make such goods available at affordable prices.
As you know, the Jones Act raises the price of goods shipped to Hawaii from the U.S. mainland, and if, heaven forbid, Hurricane Lane were to cause significant damage to our islands, many Hawaii residents will need to rebuild in the days and months ahead.
Therefore, we ask that you immediately waive the Jones Act for Hawaii for at least one year, to facilitate a speedy and affordable recovery for our state, should the worst happen.
Thank you for your consideration,
Sincerely, and with aloha,
President and CEO
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
Akina said today that the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii is calling on Gov. David Ige, Hawaii’s congressional delegation and other local lawmakers to contact President Trump to request a waiver from the Jones Act, in the unfortunate event Hurricane Lane levies significant damage to the islands.
According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website, requests to waive the Jones Act should be sent to the following addresses: JonesActWaiverRequest@cbp.dhs.gov, firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com.
Said Akina: “Waiving the Jones Act would bring the cost of shipping down for Hawaii, which would help keep urgently needed goods in the state available at affordable prices.”
PBN: Jones Act waiver sought for Hawaii by Grassroot Institute of Hawaii