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.