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As I reported yesterday, NJ desperately needs rock salt. And we could have had 40,000 tons of it by now, if the Obama Administration is willing to buck the maritime unions and allow for a waiver of the Jones Act.
Today we got their answer — an emphatic "no."
With salt stockpiles dangerously low, the state transportation commissioner said yesterday New Jersey is just one snowstorm away from possibly closing major roadways — and he blames the federal government.
"A lot of the counties and municipalities are out of salt," Department of Transportation Commissioner Jim Simpson said yesterday. "If we have one more storm, New Jersey is going to have to close its interstates."
Simpson said he has been trying to get the federal government to grant a waiver allowing an empty ship already in Maine to bring 40,000 tons of road salt to Port Newark.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security denied his request, he said, and the salt remains in Maine.
Close the interstates Jim. Close 'em today.
Hey, it's what Dear Leader did with the National Parks. Shove the Jones Act right back into his unionista-loving face.
The whole thing is absurd. There's a ship ready to get the salt here within 2 days. But it's homeported in the Marshall Islands and thus prohibited from carrying cargo from one U.S. port to another.
We're supposed to wait three weeks while they find a suitable U.S. registered ship.
On Thursday, Simpson said, he received a note amounting to a denial of the waiver and was informed the U.S. Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration was trying to locate a U.S. vessel that could bring the salt to Port Newark.
They found barges, he said. One that carries 10,000 tons and one that carries 5,000 tons and would get the salt to New Jersey in about three weeks, leaving more than half the load in Maine.
"Tell me how this is in the public interest — to deny New Jersey the ability to protect its own people?" Simpson said. "It's appalling. It's malfeasance."
It's sabotage by cabotage.
Thomas Allegretti, chairman of the American Maritime Partnership, the voice of the nation's domestic maritime industry, said a U.S. vessel will deliver the salt to New Jersey.
"The maritime industry is working to ensure that the state has the resources it needs to meet its seasonal demand," Allegretti said. "Despite short notice by transportation officials, maritime operators are moving to accelerate a request for additional salt and will deliver a new shipment to New Jersey before it is needed again."
Translation? The check is in the mail.
So if Chris Christie wants to make a point, he'll close the interstates
until it gets here. Three weeks of turning trucks back at the Pennsylvania
border ought to get somebody's attention. Let's see the Teamsters union
fight the maritime unions. I'll bring the popcorn.
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