Trump Waives Jones Act For Puerto Rico, Lifts Restrictions On Shipping

Farmer Luis A. Pinto Cruz sells produce to a customer from his kiosk in Yabucoa Puerto Rico on Sunday. He drove to the capital last week to stock up on vegetables for the kiosk because his 14,000 plantain trees are all dead his cattle are gone and he

Scott's office announced the trip with a brief statement Wednesday evening, noting that his visit comes "at the request of Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló".

"The situation on the island is perilous and reporting on the sustained damage and dangers is hard at best", Esri Industry Manager Ryan Lanclos said in a statement.

Rossello had asked Trump to temporarily waive the law as the island seeks food, water and other supplies following widespread devastation from Hurricane Maria.

But Puerto Rico has to wait until American boats can reach its shores with supplies because of an obscure, World War I-era shipping law that the Trump administration is refusing to waive.

During a visit to a Kissimmee warehouse packed with thousands of bottles of water encased in plastic, Scott met with Osceola County leaders who are mobilizing relief and planning for a potentially huge influx of Puerto Ricans fleeing the devastated island.

Advocates who pressed for the waiver have said it could get desperately needed supplies delivered to the island more quickly and at less cost.

Image copyright Getty Images How bad is the situation on Puerto Rico?




Bossert said later Thursday that the "business model" for recover efforts had changed and that FEMA is working directly with the localities as well as state government.

They have also pointed out that the US Virgin Islands, which have also been hit hard by the hurricanes which have battered the Caribbean in recent months, was given a permanent waiver in the original act.

Puerto Rico residents and recovery workers can use CrowdRescue to map updates on closed roads, bridge collapses, flooding, power failures, communication problems and the island's new surge of mudslides. Media reports in Puerto Rico suggest that as many as 100,000 people will eventually resettle in Central Florida over the next few months.

Trump told reporters on Wednesday that "we're thinking" about lifting the law, but added that a "lot of shippers" didn't want it lifted.

Waiving restrictions on foreign vessels that carry cargo to Puerto Rico "could overwhelm the system, creating unnecessary backlogs and causing confusion on the distribution of critical supplies throughout the island,"' said Thomas Allegretti, the group's chairman. "Every time you say, what are the needs you can address?"

"This is what they do", Rubio said Thursday. Puerto Rico's governor and other United States officials had argued that a waiver would expedite supplies to the island.

Clark reported from Tallahassee and Bousquet reported from Kissimmee.

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