HONOLULU — Today, Senate Minority Leader Sam Slom, R-Hawaii Kai-Kahala, called for Gov. Neil Abercrombie to seek an exemption to the Jones Act ship build requirement.
“The Governor should follow the recommendations of his committee and should immediately seek an exemption from the Jones Act, particularly the ship build requirement. The Jones Act ship-build requirement is the main contributor to the high cost of living in Hawaii. Hawaiian residents are paying 68% more for food than mainlanders. I want to know, and I am sure the people of Hawaii want to know, when the Governor is going to ask for a Jones Act exemption for Hawaii?” Slom said.
Slom’s comments address the news today that Matson shipping will be increasing the cost of fuel surcharges from 39.5% to 42.5%.[i] The Governor’s own task force, the Hawaii Refinery Task Force (HRTF), proposed the state seek relief from the Jones Act ship build requirement in its final report published by DBEBT on April 9, 2014, and released April 28, 2014.
Slom wants to know “What the Governor plans are for seeking a Jones Act exemption and what is his timeline for relief to our state taxpayers?”
Slom has been a vocal opponent of the Jones Act ship build requirement and most recently, joined a multi-jurisdictional movement for a Jones Act exemption with Alaska and Puerto Rico. Slom notes that Guam passed a resolution on April 15, 2014, also seeking relief from the effect of the Jones Act. Slom wonders why the governor has not already placed a plan for Jones Act U.S. ship build requirement relief into motion.
“Our governor can contact the White House, federal senators and congressmen if he chooses to, in order to petition for an exemption. It is a simple matter of writing a letter or two, and making some phone calls. Hawaii needs relief from the Jones Act now.”
Recommendations made by a governor appointed HRTF support Slom’s position that Hawaii will benefit from a Jones Act exemption.
The Hawaii Shippers Council president Michael Hansen also summarized DBEDT’s press release and the Governor’s response to the HRTF Final Report[ii]: “Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie (D) established the 30-member Task Force by Executive Order No. 13-19 dated February 19, 2013 to identify the challenges and risks if one or both refineries in the State were permanently closed. The Task Force was attached to the DBEDT’s Hawaii State Energy Office for administrative purposes and two private sector consultants – ICF International and Poten & Partners Inc. – were contracted to provide technical support and compile the Task Force report. Governor Abercrombie endorsed the Task Force’s Final Report in the official press release announcing its public availability, “This final report validates the importance of a sustained and reliable energy supply for the people of Hawaii.””
Slom responded to the Governor’s HRTF endorsement saying, “What we need now are real solutions, with real economic impacts, that relieve our local residents from the escalating prices they pay as a consequence of the Jones Act.”
Report submitted by the office of Senate Minority Leader Sam Slom