While BP struggles to plug its wild well in the Gulf of Mexico, misinformation continues to flow about the alleged role of the Jones Act in delaying the spill cleanup.
If you believe what you hear from the merchants of fake outrage on radio and cable TV, union opposition is preventing the government from granting Jones Act waivers that would allow foreign-flag vessels to help with the cleanup.
The Coast Guard, however, says the Jones Act hasn't slowed the cleanup, and maritime unions and other U.S.-flag interests have said repeatedly they wouldn't try to block assistance from other countries. That hasn't stopped the argument, as this exchange shows.
In a letter last week to the Wall Street Journal, maritime attorney H. Clayton Cook Jr., Maritime Administration general counsel during the Nixon and Ford administrations, noted an oft-overlooked aspect about the Jones Act: its primary beneficiaries are not maritime unions but shipbuilders and related manufacturers and the taxes they pay.