Barge industry rallies for Jones Act

OREANDA-NEWS. April 15, 2016. The chief of the US trade association for the inland and coastal barge operators is urging a US House of Representatives subcommittee to keep the Jones Act intact and reform vessel discharge law.

In prepared remarks for testimony today, Tom Allegretti, chief executive of American Waterways Operators (AWO), said he opposes the idea of scrapping the requirement that vessels be built in the US while keeping the US vessel ownership and US crewing obligations of the Jones Act.

"Not only is the US build requirement essential to our shipbuilding industrial base and, by extension, our national security, but it is also the basis for billions of dollars of investment by American companies", Allegretti said.

In his remarks, he added that frequent criticisms of the Jones Act by refining group the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers Association (AFPM) that the law contributes to higher domestic fuel prices, particularly on the east coast, are unfounded.

Allegretti also is seeking legislation that would simplify current rules for ballast water and other vessel discharges, which he called "confusing and costly" and vary by state.

The AFPM has said the law is anachronistic and needs to be adjusted to help the US economy.