New Jersey Can't Get Salt Thanks to ... the US Flag?

Law bans vessel carrying salt from traveling without one
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 18, 2014 8:20 AM CST
Updated Feb 18, 2014 1:30 PM CST
Robin Muskal of Morristown, NJ, walks her Swiss mountain dog, Oscar Olly, down Mills Street in Morristown, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014.   (AP Photo/The Daily Record, Bob Karp)

(Newser) – In a season of seemingly endless snow, New Jersey towns are running out of rock salt—and 40,000 tons of the stuff is supposed to be on its way. Trouble is, the shipment is stuck in Maine because the vessel that would carry it doesn't have an American flag, as is required by the 1920 federal Maritime Act, which states that any shipment from one US port to another must be on a US-made ship piloted by a US crew, to help ensure a thriving merchant-marine fleet, New York Times reports. "We were pursuing a waiver" to the law, "but we've been advised we wouldn't get one," a rep for New Jersey's transportation department tells the Washington Free Beacon.

The Maine shipment may now arrive in several installments, the transportation spokesman says. One possibility would see a pair of barges carrying the salt in a weeks-long process, says the head of the department, per New Jersey 101.5. Meanwhile the East Coast has been hit by three winter storm systems in one week, and New Jersey officials have barely enough salt for one more storm, the Morning Call reports. The situation is "as frustrating as frustrating can be. People aren't getting the services they need," Jersey City's mayor tells the Daily News. "We need salt and some help with Mother Nature."

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