DHS approves waiver to deliver gas to Puerto Rico

(NOAA via AP)
This satellite image provided by NOAA shows Hurricane Fiona in the Atlantic Ocean near Bermuda, moving north on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022. Fiona, which struck Puerto Rico as a Category 1 hurricane, was up to a Category 4 on Thursday.

The Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday approved a temporary waiver of the Jones Act, which requires maritime cargo transport between U.S. ports to occur only on U.S. flagged vessels, in order to provide immediate aid to hurricane-stricken Puerto Rico. 

“In response to urgent and immediate needs of the Puerto Rican people in the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona, I have approved a temporary and targeted Jones Act waiver to ensure that the people of Puerto Rican have sufficient diesel to run generators needed for electricity and the functioning critical facilities as they recover from Hurricane Fiona,” said Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in a statement. 

The U.S. territory’s Gov. Pedro Pierluisi had asked the Biden administration in a letter Tuesday to waive the Jones Act, citing concerns that the Jones Act would delay transports to address the island’s desperate need for diesel and other fuel products.  

Mayorkas said Wednesday that the decision to approve the limited waiver was based on input from Pierluisi and made in consultation with the Transportation, Energy and Defense departments.  

The controversial Jones Act has been waived during previous hurricanes. The new waiver comes more than a week after Hurricane Fiona made landfall in the territory

The Jones Act can be waived when an exception is in the interest of national defense and has been subject to thorough review, according to the department.

Puerto Rico was pummeled by Hurricane Fiona earlier this month, and the intense flooding and wind conditions battered the territory’s power grid, at one point cutting power to the entire island. 

President Biden earlier this week said the White House is “laser-focused” on Puerto Rico as its residents work to recover from the hurricane’s damage.   

Tags Alejandro Mayorkas Alejandro Mayorkas Biden Department of Defense Department of Energy Department of Homeland Security Department of Transportation Hurricane Fiona Joe Biden Jones Act Jones Act Waiver Pedro Pierluisi Pedro Pierluisi Puerto Rico United States

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