Puerto Rico Oversight Official Backs Jones Act Exemptions to Boost Economy

Trump Rates Himself a 10 Out of 10 on Puerto Rico Aid

Congress should take steps to reduce the cost of shipping fuel to Puerto Rico, including possibly suspending or exempting them from the requirement that they travel on U.S.-flagged vessels, a congressionally appointed overseer said.

"We believe that any measures that the Congress takes to ensure that the cost of shipping fuels to Puerto Rico is reduced is a positive step towards rebuilding the economy," Noel Zamot, the revitalization coordinator for Puerto Rico’s oversight board, told a congressional panel Tuesday.

Zamot was asked by Representative Doug Lamborn, a Republican of Colorado, if the Jones Act restricts liquefied natural gas shipments to the island. 

"I for one would be willing to look at that," Lamborn said of an exemption. A "very narrow exception" to the Jones Act may be needed, he said after questioning Zamot at a House Natural Resources Committee hearing.

The Jones Act requires goods being shipped between U.S. ports and territories to be carried on American-built vessels crewed by American officers and deckhands. Because much of the goods it uses are shipped in, Puerto Rico is disproportionately affected by the requirement.

A waiver granted by President Donald Trump expired earlier this year.

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