Puerto Rico Hopes U.S. Waives Historic Bill Restricting Ships From Providing Hurricane Relief
Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello said that he expects the U.S. government to waive the Jones Act in order to help victims of Hurricane Maria.
Donald Trump recently announced that he has employed "all relevant departments and agencies to assist in the recovery effort" in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. But there is one thing in particular that could possibly move the disaster relief along.
Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello said in a statement on Wednesday (Sept. 27), that he expects the U.S. government to waive the Jones Act, a bill that restricts ships from entering the island's ports, Reuters reports.
The Jones Act requires that all goods and supplies shipped between U.S. ports be carried by American-owned and operated ships. Waiving the restriction would allow Puerto Rico to receive supplies, not only from U.S. ships, but nearby ports as well. "We expect them to waive it," Rossello said.
"One of the considerations right now is the priority of getting fuel, diesel, gasoline, all across the island. Right now we have enough fuel. We’re limited by the transportation logistics, but at some point of course, getting fuel into the island is going to be critical so that we can have the major functions of telecoms, hospitals, water, to be running appropriately," he added.
Rossello also noted that he has been speaking with members of Congress from both parties in order to achieve a seven-day waiver.
On Tuesday (Sept. 26), Trump's administration reportedly denied Rossello's request to waive the shipping act. They claimed it would not do anything, considering the islands damaged ports, according to Reuters.
It is unclear whether both parties will reach an agreement in the near future.