Governor to seek long-term waiver of cabotage law to fuel power plants
By The Star Staff
Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia said Monday that he will ask Congress to approve an automatic waiver of the Jones Act, the federal cabotage law, specifically to allow fuel for electric power into the island.
“Congress would have to be the one to step in to give us a longer-lasting waiver. I support that we have a waiver in the area of fuel in particular, but that again Congress would have to intervene,” the governor said in response to questions from the press. “Yes, I will be communicating with the congressional leadership to urge them to enact specific legislation; that is, to grant us a waiver mechanism, to bring fuel to Puerto Rico when there are no American-flagged vessels available.”
Pierluisi said the request for dispensation has “to be discreet,” because if not it will not have congressional approval.
“Why do I say this? Because I know Congress and I know that if the dispensation I ask them to legislate goes beyond that, it’s not going to pass first base,” he said. “So I’m going to be making a request … for an important waiver for the purposes of Puerto Rico to be well supplied with fuel, including fuel that comes from American soil.”
The governor said he will make the request when Congress returns from recess, which ends between Nov. 14 and Nov. 15.
His remarks came after confirming that Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas approved the waiver of the Jones Act to allow the barge that brought natural gas for EcoEléctrica in Peñuelas to receive the fuel.