Burgos and Guzman call on President Biden to waive a federal law to allow essential fuel shipments to Puerto Rico

HARRISBURG, Sept. 29 – State Reps. Danilo Burgos, D-Phila, and Manuel Guzman, D-Berks, today sent a letter to President Joe Biden requesting to waive the maritime shipment restrictions stated in the Jones Act to help restore power in Puerto Rico.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona, the island is struggling to get the necessary loads of fuel to move forward. The Jones Act requires that ships transporting goods between United States ports be made in America and owned by American companies.

The lawmakers, who lead the Pennsylvania Latino Caucus, emphasized that this Act, also known as Merchant Marine Act of 1920, is narrowing the survival chances of victims of Fiona.

“The Jones Act is one of the core factors limiting the recovery of the island against the backdrop of Hurricane Fiona. A clock is ticking for all the people impacted by this natural disaster,” Burgos said. “We urge President Biden to ease the burden for Puerto Ricans, regardless of political or statehood status, and manage this situation with the same urgency that would involve any of the 50 states in the country. This is a matter of survival and empathy.”

Guzman explained that the island-wide power outrage has left an estimated 320,232 homes and business without power, relying on generators on a daily basis, which has worsened the living conditions of residents of the Caribbean Island.

“As of today, according to LUMA Energy which operates Puerto Rico’s power transmission and distribution, an estimate of 320,232 customers remain without power. Let’s not forget that Fiona hit the island on Sept.18, Puerto Ricans cannot wait any longer,” Guzman said. “As legislators and Hispanics, we are strongly committed to this crusade. We will continue to do everything in our power to help Puerto Rico.”