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US considers Jones Act waiver to allow oil shipments after Rita

[JURIST] The Bush administration may again decide to temporarily suspend the Jones Act [text] in order to facilitate petroleum shipments between US ports if Hurricane Rita [Wikipedia backgrounder] hinders supplies from reaching refineries, according to a government source Friday. The law says that only vessels built and owned by citizens of the United States and flagged in the United States can carry merchandise between US ports, but the act was waived [US DHS Jones Act waiver, PDF] after Hurricane Katrina [JURIST news archive] because of lost supplies of crude oil and gasoline. The first waiver has expired, with the exception of crude oil being transported from the government's Strategic Petroleum Reserve [official website] to refineries, but is an option for the government to consider after Hurricane Rita passes and the supply levels of pipelines and refineries can then be assessed. Reuters has more.

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