New Jersey’s U.S. senators are urging the president’s administration to “explore every possible avenue to assist” New Jersey receiving a critical supply of road salt, according to a letter sent to administration officials.
U.S. Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker (both D-N.J.) are urging the Department of Homeland Security to help the Garden State by green lighting a New Jersey Department of Transportation waiver request to allow a foreign-flagged vessel deliver more than 40,000 tons of rock salt to the state.
“As you are aware, the state of New Jersey has been among the hardest hit states this winter season, with more than 70 inches of snow accumulated in some parts of the state,” the letter reads.
“The governor has issued at least four state of emergency alerts,” it continues. “Several cities and municipalities are reporting shortages of rock salt, which has the potential to endanger motorists and the general public in future snow events. Reports indicate the state will see additional snow accumulation this week.
The senators say the shortage of rock salt “is truly a critical national need” and asked DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson to assist New Jersey.
Earlier this month, NJDOT filed a request with DHS to waive the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 under the national security exception and allow the rock salt to be delivered from Maine to Port Newark, according to the senators. The federal law, commonly known as the Jones Act, requires ships carrying cargo between U.S. ports to be carried on U.S.-flagged vessels.