A ship of fools — We learned a simple thing this week: that the BP clean-up effort in the Gulf of Mexico is hampered by the Jones Act. This is a piece of 1920s protectionist legislation, that requires all vessels working in U.S. waters to be American-built, and American-crewed.
So while, for instance, the U.S. Coast Guard can accept such help as miles of containment boom from Canada, they can’t accept, and therefore don’t ask for, the assistance of high-tech European vessels specifically designed for the task in hand.
This is amusing, in a way, a memorable illustration of a ship of fools … Which is to say, the law of unintended consequences, which pertains with especial virulence to all acts of government regulation.
Well at least we are beginning to understand Obama’s lack of haste containing and cleaning up the Gulf Oil Spill. When buying stuff in the future, look for the union label, and then put it back on the shelf. It’s disgusting self interest at work here. We are beginning to understand why oil spill containment work, early on effort to contain the well blowout, was so lacking. Why the 17 countrys who were offering aid early on, were turned down — Skimmer tankers and boats turned away from America’s stricken water for want of union workers.
Here is what Palin said last night on Greta’s FNC show about the Jones Act:
PALIN: Well, you know, even before walking in the room with BP, some orders need to be issued. For one, there needs to be a waving of the Jones Act so that we could have had many, many days ago, weeks ago, some help with skimmers from elsewhere, besides just U.S. flagships, come over and help in this tragedy. And that order needs to be given to Admiral Allen right now. It’s amazing to me and to so many others that though President Bush had been able to waive Jones Act provisions for Katrina, President Obama hasn’t thought to do that yet? And yet surely, that has been suggested by those experts around him.
And what Florida’s Attorney General said Friday about waiving the Jones Act:
Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum on Friday sent a letter to President Barack Obama, asking for a limited waiver on the Jones Act to hasten the oil spill response and the cleanup efforts.
The Jones Act is impeding that the most advanced skimmers and other vessels in the world cannot be used in the oils spill recovery efforts as the law indicated that the transportation of merchandise between U.S. points is reserved for American built, owned, and documented vessels.
It was reported that many international parties are willing to support the cleanup efforts. The European Union recently announced that special equipment has been requested and by the U.S. Coast Guard. However, the Jones Act impedes foreign vessels to offer direct assistance to the Gulf Coast response because the foreign equipment must be transferred to U.S. ships, resulting in a time-consuming process that slows down the cleanup efforts.
The Netherlands offered highly effective skimmers, which many parties recall as an effective equipment to remove oil from seawater and more important, it is capable of processing large quantities of water daily. For the fore mentioned reasons, McCollum is asking for a temporary waiver on such law.
“Federal law should not stand in the way of relief to our natural resources and economies,” the Attorney General said on his letter. “I respectfully as that the provisions of the Jones Act be waived given the ongoing environmental disaster, as it was waived to assist in response to Hurricane Katrina.”
McCollum said that Press Secretary Gibbs said on Thursday that if there is need for any type of waiver it will be granted. Due to the fact that the oil spill has invaded Florida, Louisiana and other Gulf Coast states.