Booker and Menendez Urge Feds to Waive Jones Act for Rock Salt


U.S. Sens. Bob Menendez (D., N.J.) and Cory Booker (D., N.J.) sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security today asking them to help New Jersey obtain critically needed rock salt to maintain safety on the state’s roads.

“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,” Booker and Menendez wrote in their letter to DHS.

“The governor has issued at least four state of emergency alerts. 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.”

They called the shortage of rock salt a “critical national need.”

As reported by the Washington Free Beacon on Monday, the Feds have not yet approved a waiver of the Jones Act, which would have allowed New Jersey to access 40,000 tons of salt sitting at a port in Maine.

New Jersey State Department of Officials confirmed they were told a waiver would be “unlikely.”  Townsquare Media was the first media outlet to report on the shortage on Friday and the Free Beacon reached out to Booker and Menendez for comment on Saturday.

Neither senator responded to a request for comment by Sunday evening.

However, the senators in a prepared statement said they “immediately instructed their respective staffs to contact DHS on behalf of New Jersey residents seeking a swift and favorable resolution” after learning on Friday of the shortage

Many New Jersey drivers and school buses are traveling on hazardous, slick roads. As previously reported, some counties and towns are completely out of salt. Other municipalities have left roads untreated due to their shortage of salt.

“We urge your agencies to continue to assist the State of New Jersey to help procure and deliver rock salt for the purposes of public safety and security,” the senators said in their letter.