From Will at The Other News:
In its hurry to transport millions of barrels of oil from federal stockpiles to stabilize world oil prices earlier this summer, the Obama administration has repeatedly bypassed federal law by allowing nearly all the oil to move on foreign-owned vessels, drawing protests from domestic maritime operators.If he really wanted to destroy America would he do anything different?Buddies with the Unions then stab them in the back?
The domestic ship owners say that 46 times the administration has waived the Jones Act, a 90-year-old law requiring purely domestic cargo to move on United States-flagged ships except under extraordinary circumstances. Only once this summer has oil from the reserve moved on American barges.
Even as unemployment hovered over 9 percent, the administration approved dozens of applications to transport nearly 30 million barrels of domestic crude oil within the borders of the United States on tankers employing foreign crews and flying the flags of the , and other countries.
The move, which saved time and money for the oil companies that bought the oil, took potential work from more than 30 American cargo vessels and as many as 400 sailors, American ship owners said in recent days.
“This has literally flabbergasted the American maritime industry,” said Christopher Coakley, vice president for legislative affairs at the American Waterways Operators, an association of domestic ship and barge operators.
“The idea was to create American jobs and help the economy. But all the profit from the sale of the oil has gone to traders and oil companies and all the profit from movement of the oil has gone to foreign shippers and crewmen, and that’s galling.”
In late June, the Obama administration, acting in concert with the 27 nations of the International Energy Agency, released the oil from the Department of Energy’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve to make up some of the shortfall caused by the conflict in .
The administration said it wanted to get the oil to market quickly to lower prices and ensure supplies for the summer travel season. To meet that goal, it set very short deadlines for transporting the crude. To waive the Jones Act, the president must find that there is a national security emergency and that domestic carriers are not available in a timely manner.
The cutoff of oil from Libya and a lack of large-capacity American tankers provided the legal rationale for circumventing the law. Representative Peter T. King, the Republican who is chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said that it appeared that the administration had met the formal requirements for waiving the Jones Act, but he questioned the political and economic wisdom of doing so.
“The spirit of the law is when possible, use a U.S. vessel, especially in tough economic times,” Mr. King said. “I think it has to hurt the American economy, hurt the maritime industry and affect American jobs.Mr. King said, “I don’t see this as a partisan issue. But I would think a Democratic administration would be making some effort to help American workers.””
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