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In response to the Obama Administration’s decision in enforce the Jones Act, legislation which makes it illegal for foreign ships to aid in the gulf cleanup, Americans for Tax Reform sent the following letter to Congress urging Senators to support S. 3512, The WAIVER (Water Assistance from International Vessels for Emergency Response) Act.

ATR's full letter is below:

On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform, and millions of taxpayers, business owners and energy consumers nationwide, I applaud your introduction of S. 3512, The WAIVER (Water Assistance from International Vessels for Emergency Response) Act, which suspends the Jones Act thus allowing foreign vessels to enter the Gulf of Mexico to aid in the cleanup of the oil spill.

The Jones Act was enacted in 1920 and prevents foreign maritime vessels from traveling between U.S. ports.  The WAIVER Act would temporarily suspend the Jones Act and allow ships from other countries to transport supplies crucial to relief efforts between U.S. ports. The Act will bypass red tape and allow for the immediate aid our cleanup crews need.  The Jones Act was temporarily lifted during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and once again must be lifted in the aftermath of this oil spill.

The WAIVER Act would allow skimmer vessels from foreign nations to enter the Gulf of Mexico.  These skimmers collect oil from the water and prevent it from reaching our beaches.  Currently, there are only twenty skimmers of the coast of Florida.  It is imperative that we do all we can to prevent the further destruction of the Gulf of Mexico.

There have been many instances so far in which foreign aid has been turned away by the Obama administration. Foreign allies such as Mexico and Norway have offered sophisticated maritime vessels to help in the cleanup but President Obama has denied their requests. These foreign skimmers are technologically advanced and designed specifically for this purpose.

I applaud you for your efforts to do more than politicize this issue by introducing legislation that will allow much needed aid into the Gulf.  

I am urging all Senators to support you by co-sponsoring S. 3512, The WAIVER Act.  If you have any questions about becoming a co-sponsor, contact Frank Walker in Senator Lemieux’s office at 202.224.3041 or ATR Affairs Manager Brian Johnson at [email protected] or 202.785.0266.

Grover G. Norquist

cc:    All US Senators