Keep your non-union skimmers away from the Gulf (continued)

Last week, several sources reported that Team Obama was repelling foreign nation’s offers of high capacity skimming vessels. 

Why ? Because the ships and barges were made outside the U.S., possibly with non-union labor – and barred by the Jones Act.

Here’s the WSJ’s recap …

* * * * *

JUNE 19, 2010 The President Does a Jones Act
Why Obama turned down foreign ships to clean up the Gulf.

President Obama has repeatedly said his Administration is doing everything in its power to expedite the oil clean-up and mitigate the damage.

But in the two weeks immediately after the spill, 13 foreign governments reached out and offered their assistance.

The U.S. State Department response?

“While there is no need right now that the U.S. cannot meet, the U.S. Coast Guard is assessing these offers of assistance to see if there will be something which we will need in the near future.”

The Belgian dredging group DEME says it has offered the U.S. specialized vessels and technology that can help clean up the spill in three to four months compared to the estimated nine months that the U.S. will need.

There are only a handful of these vessels in the world, and most of them belong to Dutch and Belgian companies. So why aren’t we calling on them?

Blame it on the protectionist Merchant Marine Act of 1920, also called the Jones Act, that requires ships working in U.S. waters to be built, operated and owned by Americans — unions don’t want ships built with foreign labor to be used in U.S. waters.

Presidents can suspend the Jones Act in emergencies, as George W. Bush did after Hurricane Katrina. But the Obama Administration continues to maintain that this isn’t necessary.

There’s no excuse for turning away ships that can clean up the oil merely because that might offend Mr. Obama’s union friends.

Full article:

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