Jones Act Resurfaces at Oil Spill Hearing

Nearly 10 months after the Gulf oil spill, the Obama administration’s refusal to waive the Jones Act was still on the minds of a few Republicans at a House hearing last week.

Two freshman lawmakers, Reps. Jeff Landry (R-LA) and Blake Farenthold (R-TX), pressed retired Adm. Thad Allen, the national incident commander for the oil spill, about the Jones Act. The law regulates maritime commerce in U.S. waters and between ports.

Landry opened his questions by asking Allen if he felt the “waiver provisions in the Jones Act provide sufficient flexible during of emergencies” to which Allen simply answered, “Yes, they do.”

Later, Farenthold noted that some of the individual waivers that were granted took 10 days to process and asked whether that was an unreasonable time during an emergency. Allen responded that the waivers requested were “standby waivers” and were not involved in an “extremist or urgency situation.” Allen added that he received quick waivers when necessary for previous operations.

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