Crucial offers to help clean up BP’s oil spill came “from Belgian, Dutch, and Norwegian firms that . . . possess some of the world’s most advanced oil skimming ships.” But the Obama administration didn’t accept their help, because doing so would require it to do something past presidents have routinely done: waive rules imposed by the Jones Act, a law backed by unions.
“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” the U.S. Coast Guard ”can’t accept, and therefore don’t ask for, the assistance of high-tech European vessels specifically designed for the task in hand.”
The law itself permits the president to waive these requirements, and such waivers were “granted, promptly, by the Bush administration,” in the aftermath of hurricanes and other emergencies. But Obama refused to do so after the spill, notes David Warren in the Ottawa Citizen. Instead, Obama rejected a Dutch offer to help clean up the spill, noted Voice of America News:
“The Obama administration declined the Dutch offer partly because of the Jones Act, which restricts foreign ships from certain activities in U.S. waters. During the Hurricane Katrina crisis five years ago, the Bush administration waived the Jones Act in order to facilitate some foreign assistance, but such a waiver was not given in this case.”
Gotta protect the unions, now. Read the rest of Hans Bader’s report on this nonsensical crap here.