Cabotage Law Took A Bad Rap In Freeze
New England fuel dealers want the chance to use foreign-flag ships to carry oil from the South during intense cold snaps like the one late last year.
Waiting for a U.S.-flag ship to haul fuel oil from Texas, Louisiana and Puerto Rico refineries to New England can be a long and chilly process and one the Department of Energy thinks needs changing.
So do the New England fuel oil dealers, who say a supply shortage during last December's intense cold spell, which pushed the average price of heating oil up from 95 cents a gallon to $1.42 last December, was aggravated by the Jones Act's requirement that U.S. domestic shipments be carried in U.S.-flag vessels.
Now, House Merchant Marine and Fisheries chairman Walter Jones (D-NC) has asked committee staff to look into the issue.
"It has been suggested that allowing foreign vessels to carry Number 2 heating oil in the domestic waterborne commerce would have substantially alleviated the fuel crisis," said Jones. "It has also been suggested that there was a serious breakdown in federal …