[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 172 (Wednesday, September 7, 2005)]
[Pages 53236-53237]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-17829]



Office of the Secretary

Waiver of Compliance With Navigation and Inspection Laws

AGENCY: Office of the Secretary, DHS.

ACTION: Notice.


    Hurricane Katrina is one of the largest natural disasters to ever 
strike the United States. It has significantly disrupted production of 
oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico, has caused many Gulf Coast oil 
refineries to go out of service because of flooding, lack of electric 
power or other reasons, and has significantly disrupted the pipeline 
transportation of oil and refined products from the Gulf Coast States. 
These production losses, outages and disruptions have already caused 
large runups in the price of oil, gasoline and other refined products. 
The Department of Homeland Security is also now receiving reports of 
threatened or actual shortages of gasoline, jet fuel, and other refined 
products, and of the rationing of these fuels, both in the Southeast 
U.S. and in other locations throughout the country.
    Numerous companies that produce and/or ship petroleum and/or 
refined petroleum products have submitted to the Department requests 
for waivers of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 (the ``Jones Act'' ). 46 
U.S.C. App. section 1. This and related laws are generally referred to 
as the ``coastwise laws.'' These laws provide, among other things, that 
only vessels built and owned by citizens of the United States and 
flagged in the United States can carry merchandise between U.S. ports.
    The Secretary of Homeland Security is vested with the authority and 
discretion to waive the coastwise laws ``to such extent and in such 
manner and upon such terms as he may prescribe, either upon his own 
initiative or upon the written recommendation of the head of any other 
Government agency, whenever he deems that such action is necessary in 
the interest of national defense.'' In consultation with and upon the 
recommendation of the Secretary of Energy, I have determined that such 
a waiver, in accordance with the terms set forth below, is in the 
interest of the national defense.
    The catastrophic destruction brought about by Hurricane Katrina has 
dramatically impeded, and in some places in the affected region stopped 
altogether, production and transportation or transmission of oil, 
refined petroleum products, natural gas, and electricity. Much of the 
lost oil production is from producing areas in the Gulf of Mexico which 
have been leased pursuant to programs of the Department of the 
Interior. This lost production, refining and transportation capacity 
has resulted in the threatened rationing and unavailability of 
gasoline, jet fuel and other refined products, and threatens the 
Nation's economic and national security. I believe that waiver of the 
coastwise laws would facilitate the transportation of oil and refined 
petroleum products in and from portions of the United States devastated 
by the Hurricane, and to other regions affected by the disruptions that 
have occurred in the Gulf Coast area.
    Therefore, I am exercising my discretion and authority to waive the 
coastwise laws generally for the transportation of petroleum and 

[[Page 53237]]

petroleum products for the period until 12:01 a.m., September 19, 2005. 
In addition, I am exercising my discretion and authority to waive the 
coastwise laws generally for the transportation of petroleum released 
from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, whether pursuant to an exchange, 
sale or otherwise, undertaken in response to the circumstances arising 
from Hurricane Katrina. I find, for the reasons set forth above, that 
such waivers are necessary in the interest of national defense.

    Dated: September 1, 2005.
Michael Chertoff,
[FR Doc. 05-17829 Filed 9-2-05; 2:52 pm]