The Trump administration has waived a key statute to allow for “as many ships as possible” to bring fuel into Florida, as part of a massive effort to ease gas shortages for Florida residents and others in the path of Hurricane Irma.
“We’re bringing in as much supply of refined fuel as possible,” Tom Bossert, White House homeland security adviser, told reporters on Friday.
The move was made in conjunction with state officials in Florida who are scrambling to get fuel to the pumps and alleviate gas shortages. Florida has taken several steps to expedite those shipments.
At the federal level, the step Bossert cited involves an obscure but critical law known as the Jones Act, which says only American-made, U.S.-flagged vessels can ship products between domestic ports. He said the secretary of Homeland Security waived the statute so that foreign-flagged vessels can help.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott also said Friday that he’s directed state police to escort fuel trucks so they can then quickly deliver the fuel to gas stations along evacuations routes. He’s also rescinded all weight and driver restrictions so fuel and other supplies can be brought in.
An update from the governor’s office said 8.4 million gallons of fuel was shipped into Port Everglades and over 5 million was shipped into Port Tampa Bay on Thursday alone. The office said emergency contractors have also “secured 1.5 million gallons of fuel for initial delivery and confirmed that additional fuel supply is on standby for future deliveries.”
“We know fuel is important- we're devoting every state resource available & working around the clock to get fuel to you,” Scott tweeted.