Lujan's proposes resolution to pause Jones Act
To help bring down prices, Sen. Jesse Lujan is seeking a temporary, 24-month waiver of the Jones Act.
It's an old law that prevents cheaper, foreign-flagged carriers from shipping between U.S. ports, including Guam.
The Jones Act was passed more than a century ago to protect American shipping interests from foreign competition. It restricts the transportation of cargo between U.S. ports to ships that are American-owned and built.
Offshore states and territories like Guam, Puerto Rico and Hawaii have been seeking exemptions for years, because of the higher consumer prices created.
Lujan said inflation has hit hard, and Guam needs at least a temporary waiver.
"Most if not all are goods acquired back in the US mainland and so with that being said, its a supply and demand situation, and all that, we're the furthest away from the 48 contiguous states, and so that being said, the price of goods and services for the people of Guam are that much more expensive for everyone," he said. "Again, I'm not asking for an exemption a total removal. I'm just asking for a 24-month waiver for us to get back again on our feet. We're not totally on our knees but we're really not off our knees as well."
Lujan's resolution is tied to Guam's growing military presence, and critical geopolitical and strategic importance.
He's appealing to the Department of Defense and Homeland Security, which are both authorized to waive jones act requirements.
"We have actually a six-page argument with regards to the waiver. and everything has to do basically with the military buildup. in regards to getting our waiver. and precedence has been set already not just in Puerto Rico but also the pipeline, the colonial pipeline," Lujan said.
If passed by the legislature, the non-binding resolution will be sent to Washington, D.C.