AMP Responds to Error-Filled Editorial about the Jones Act (1/4)

 

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The American Maritime Partnership, to which the SIU is affiliated, has posted the following letter. To access a PDF version on the AMP site, click HERE

 

Dear Editor:

 

Your editorial about the Jones Act (Jan. 1, 2013) contains a boatload of errors and misrepresentations.

 

For example, it says President Obama suspended the Jones Act after the Gulf Spill. That is flatly untrue. The article quotes a 1999 International Trade Commission (ITC) finding that repeal of the Jones Act would save $1.3 billion a year. In fact, the ITC has explicitly disavowed any such estimate. The article suggests that the Jones Act has no national security benefit yet fails to mention that the U.S. Navy strongly supports the Act because of its importance to military sealift capacity. The article says “by some estimates” the Jones Act makes the cost of goods a third more expensive in Hawaii. There is no creditable study that finds such and, of course, any such estimate is ridiculous on its face. The article mentions a lawsuit against the Jones Act that has been filed in Hawaii without noting that essentially the same lawsuit filed by the same lawyer was summarily dismissed in Hawaii several years ago. The article says high costs of shipbuilding have deterred upgrading of vessels without mentioning that within the last month a domestic carrier, TOTE Inc., announced plans to construct state-of-the-art container ships powered by liquefied natural gas vessels, the largest and first of their kind in the world. They will be built in a U.S. shipyard. Americans at shipyards on the West, Gulf and East Coasts have built dozens of state-of-the-art tank vessels over the past decade, along with a fleet of highly innovative, world class offshore development vessels. The article mentions Jones Act waivers by Presidents Bush and Obama without mentioning the seemingly relevant fact that both waivers were extremely narrow in scope and that both Presidents strongly support the Act.

 

Worst, though, is your statement that waiving the Jones Act after Hurricane Sandy led directly to lower gas prices and shorter filling station lines. As result of the waiver, a fraction of the overall gasoline supply was transported into the Northeast on foreign vessels. Other factors like closed ports, the lack of electricity at gas stations, damaged terminals, and the devastated surface transportation network from the terminals to the gas stations led to long lines at the gas stations. Your statement that the Jones Act waiver led to lower prices and short lines is untrue.

 

In your list of Jones Act supporters, you failed to include every President, every Congress and every Defense Department in modern times. The law has enjoyed bipartisan support because of the important national, economic and homeland security benefits it provides to our nation. It deserves better than your unbalanced and error-filled editorial.

 

Sincerely,

 

James Henry, chairman

American Maritime Partnership

 

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