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Updated: Apr 18

ATLANTA - After spending years in maritime logistics, Chase Oliver has witnessed firsthand the detrimental impact of the Jones Act. This legislation must come to an end as it harms everything it comes into contact with.

“The Jones Act is not only protectionist nonsense,” says Oliver, 38, who topped the field in four Libertarian primaries and participated in the Free and Equal debate. 
“It is also detrimental to our domestic energy producers. It’s costing us jobs and raising the cost of living.”

The Jones Act was enacted in 1920 to strengthen maritime shipping, to make the U.S. maritime fleet available to back up defensive ships in times of war. It restricts shipping between U.S. ports to ships that are built, flagged, crewed, and owned by Americans.

It has preposterous consequences that harm a surprising number of Americans:

NATURAL GAS: The United States leads the world in natural gas production - more than No. 2 Russia and No. 3 Iran combined. And yet, the eastern United States and Puerto Rico get no U.S. liquified natural gas from U.S. ships, the cheapest way to ship it. 


“The Jones Act is why the Northeast uses foreign natural gas instead of the abundant domestic supply. We don't have a Jones-Act-compliant ship,” Oliver says. 
“It costs more to send cargo from Savannah, Georgia, to Puerto Rico than it does to send the same cargo from Savannah to Spain,” Oliver says. Instead, the East Coast and Puerto Rico import liquified natural gas from international sources. 

Dominican Republic, which is about 130 miles from Puerto Rico, gets 65 percent of its LNG from the United States because it is not bound by the Jones Act. Puerto Rico? None.

Beef: Hawaii’s Parker Ranch is one of the largest and oldest cattle ranches in the country. Because of the Jones Act limitations, the ranch cannot directly ship its grass-fed cattle to the mainland. Instead, it ships many of its young cattle aboard aircraft to the mainland. 

Yes, by air.

They’re shipped in livestock containers dubbed “cowtainers”, which cause problems with waste disposal in harbors, lead to lower-weight cattle upon delivery, and a higher mortality rate. 

SHIPBUILDING: Proponents of the Jones Act claim that requiring U.S.-built ships for merchant use has a defensive use. This falls on its face: Airliners and trucks that are made abroad fill our skies and highways. Why should watercraft be treated differently from aircraft or land vehicles? 

Our shipbuilding costs have skyrocketed so much that even the spendthrift Department of Defense buys ships from outside sources. In a 2019 congressional hearing, the head of the U.S. Transportation Command said that new U.S. ships would cost 26 times more than the $26-60 million for used ships built in other countries.

“End the Jones Act once and for all.”

To learn more about the Jones Act:

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