The U.S. shipping industry is responding to calls from some lawmakers to repeal or waive the Jones Act after President Joe Biden announced a ban on Russian oil and energy imports.
Since the ban was announced earlier this week, at least two members of Congress have called for the repeal of the 100-year-old law, including Representative Scott Perry (R-PA) which says that any Russian energy ban must include an amendment to create exemptions for ships carrying LNG. Perry said he would introduce the amendment as a stand-alone bill.
Representative Ed Case of Hawaii, a Democrat, also called for a waiver of the Jones Act, arguing that the Shipping Act should be lifted to allow foreign ships to transport oil and other petroleum products from mainland US ports to Hawaii to help the state replace Russian barrels . Hawaii gets about a third of its crude oil from Russia.
The Jones Act requires that goods transported by water between two points in the United States be transported on vessels built, manned, owned and registered in the United States.
The American Maritime Partnership (AMP), which represents the national marine industry, maintains that there is more than adequate national vessel capacity to meet all oil transportation requirements in the United States, and that a waiver of the Jones Act for gasoline would only benefit oil. merchants, not American consumers.
In a letter sent to President Joe Biden, the AMP sought to dispel misconceptions related to the Jones Act and energy prices, as well as the transportation of crude oil and other energy cargoes in the United States to the light of the energy embargo.
“We appreciate your support and the overwhelming, bipartisan support of Congress for the Jones Act. Ukraine is a lesson America must provide for its self-defense and economy, and that the 650,000 American men and women of American Maritime will continue to move what our nation needs, including energy,” AMP said in its letter.
The letter also highlighted congressional support for ensuring that US ships are used to transport oil from any drawdown from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR).
“In addition to the specific Section 501 requirements, the FY22 omnibus appropriations bill passed by the House last night requires federal agencies to take steps to secure the use of U.S. vessels before considering any Jones Act waivers related to the transportation of oil from the SRP This is a strong contemporary signal from Congress that Jones Act waivers for SPR levies should only be considered when US vessels are not available .