Getting relief supplies to puerto rico ports is only half the problem – the washington post electricity worksheets for 4th grade


President Trump, under political pressure from critics who say his administration has lagged in providing aid to Puerto Rico, flipped his position on Thursday on the 1920 Jones Act and said he would waive the requirement that vessels traveling between U.S. ports be U.S. ships. However the waiver lasts only 10 days, according to a Bloomberg News report.

While many lawmakers from both parties said the Jones Act waiver would speed assistance for Puerto Rico and reduce costs, U.S. shipping executives — including Crowley’s — and maritime unions warned that the bottleneck was on the island, not on the seas. Huge swaths of the population still lack fuel, water supplies and communication links.

John Rabin, acting administrator for FEMA Region II, said the agency has established 11 staging areas and delivered food and water to 78 municipalities. He said that 676 gasoline stations were open Thursday morning, although residents said that supplies ran out by early afternoon at many of the stations.

One of the most troublesome obstacles to relief efforts has been the electrical grid, crippled by fallen transmission and distribution lines. Though utilities belong to national groups that help coordinate out-of-state workers to help repair storm damage, so far the mainland utilities have sent crews only to help assess damage. Sue Kelly, president of the American Public Power Association, said Wednesday there was no point in sending repair crews who need food, water and shelter if they did not have the poles, wires and trucks needed.

Luis Muñoz Marin Airport in San Juan has been able to handle a trickle of flights — about half a dozen a day — for several days; it was expecting nearly two dozen planes to land on Thursday. To relieve congestion, the Air Force opened airports in Ceiba and Aguadilla. Rosselló described plans to reestablish a radar in El Yunque, the national rain forest, to augment operations at all the island’s flight hubs.

Ports are slowly reopening. FEMA said it would bring in about 3.2 million meals and 2.68 million liters of water, some by air and some by sea. Only 28 percent of the island now has some cellphone reception. About 86 bank branches are open, but many people still have no cash or access to checking accounts.

"I wish we were in a better position but we are limited by the gravity of the situation," Rosselló said. In Florida and Texas, where major hurricanes landed in the past two months, resources were brought in by road, but "Puerto Rico is an island. We have to bring them through boats and airplanes."

Hence the fight over the Jones Act. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a longtime advocate of repealing the Jones Act restrictions, wrote to the Department of Homeland Security saying, "I am very concerned by the Department’s decision not to waive the Jones Act for current relief efforts in Puerto Rico, which is facing a worsening humanitarian crisis following Hurricane Maria."

"If we cut some American jobs, replace them with foreign labor and save a few pennies on the delivered goods, then perhaps you could get the answer swayed to yes, but no one has ever made a factual case that this is true," Crowley said in an interview.

After the president announced the waiver, Crowley said in an email: "We understand the waiver will be temporary. In the meantime, we hope people will take the time to learn what our American vessel crews, dock workers and truck drivers are doing 24/7 to bring help to Puerto Rico. Americans responding to Americans in need."