The Offshore Marine Service Association in the US says it is “disappointed” by an announcement that US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has withdrawn a proposal to modify and revoke letter rulings affecting the Jones Act.
In a statement, the Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA) said the Office of Management and Budget had recommended a regulatory review process that will delay what it claims is the “lawful and correct enforcement of the Jones Act.”
Other parties, including a joint trade group that came together to fight plans to change the way the Jones Act is interpreted and debunk what it claims are myths propagated about the vessels and operations affected by the proposed changes strongly objected to the plan. The group opposed to the changes includes the American Petroleum Institute (API), Association of Diving Contractors International, Independent Petroleum Association of America, International Association of Geophysical Contractors, International Marine Contractors Association, Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association, Offshore Operators Committee, US Chamber of Commerce and US Oil and Gas Association.
The group has held meetings with numerous politicians in Gulf Coast states to alert them to what it believes are the significant adverse implications of the changes. Members of the International Association of Drilling Contractors say they were also concerned by the uncertainties associated with the proposed changes.
“The offshore service industry is deeply disappointed in the administration’s decision to delay the revocation of letter rulings that would correctly enforce the Jones Act and put American mariners first,” said Aaron Smith, president and chief executive of OMSA. “This decision to move to a regulatory review process is deeply damaging to the American crews, shipyards, and companies who have waited more than eight years while the administration studied taking action.”
In contrast, the API has argued that the proposed changes to the way the Jones Act is interpreted would have the opposite effect, and lead to job losses, loss of GDP, reduced production and would adversely affect energy security in the US. It released a report that foresaw “significant and damaging impacts” from CBP’s proposed modifications. The API said the adverse effects of the proposed changes include the potential for significant loss of American jobs, reduced US oil and natural gas production, and diminished revenues for federal and state government.
“We are disappointed the administration chose to indefinitely kick this regulatory can down the road,” said Matthew Paxton, president of the Shipbuilders Council of America. “The administration’s decision to delay the revocation of letter rulings is extremely disappointing,” said Tom Allegretti, chairman of the American Maritime Partnership.