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« Wednesday Morning News Dump | Main | "The Economics of Sex" »
February 19, 2014

I Love You, Government: As New Jersey Faces Transportation Crisis Due to Lack of Snow-Melting Rock Salt, 40,000 Tons of the Stuff Are Held Up in Maine by Bureaucracy and Ancient Law

Let's regulate all the things.

With the region hit by yet another blast of winter weather, a mountain of 40,000 tons of rock salt destined for New Jersey is being held up at a port in Maine by a century-old maritime law, forcing state officials to scramble to retrieve a portion of the load even as salt sheds across the state are down to their final grains.

...

Jim Simpson, New Jersey’s transportation commissioner, said in a radio interview on Friday that there was a ship in Maine that could carry the entire load to the Port of Newark within days but cannot do so because it does not sail under an American flag.

“We’ve been going back and forth with the feds for the last two days,” Mr. Simpson told the station, New Jersey 101.5 FM. “This is the kind of stuff we’re dealing with. Even government, the federal government, gets in the way.”

On Tuesday, Joseph Dee, a spokesman for the transportation department, said that the state’s request for a waiver had been denied on Thursday and that they were not sure that the larger ship was even in port anymore.

As an alternative, they dispatched a barge to retrieve 9,500 tons of salt. It will take several trips to transport all 40,000 tons, which could take weeks.

Apparently there's some protectionist law that says only American-flagged ships can transport our precious patriotic rock salt from American port to American port. Because America.*

We need to start passing laws that sunset huge blocks of law within, say, three years. Give Congress a chance to re-pass the ones that make sense. But it's time to just start repealing laws en masse.

Oh, by the way: Notice the Obama Administration, by denying a crucial waiver, is not just shutting down a bridge for one day, but is shutting down all the state roads.

Time for some traffic problems in New Jersey?

From @slublog.

*It's a standard leftist trope to goof on the right for what they claim to be false assertions of patriotic spirit for various laws and measures. And yet when it comes down to ridiculous protectionist schemes such as this one -- a scheme which is actually putting people in actual danger, as snowy, icy roads are an oft-lethal hazard -- they will of course resort to claiming that we need to protect our patriotic American-flagged ships from foreign competition, Because America.

Clarification/Correction: Blaster tells me the law specifically forbids foreign-flagged ships from carrying goods from one American port to another:

The law is that only US flagged ships may go from US port to US port.

So they could take that ship full of rock salt under non-US flag up to Canada, then go to New Jersey.


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posted by Ace at 10:55 AM

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