Over 10,000 federal relief workers are on the island, and Puerto Rico's governor has praised the federal government's relief efforts.
The 1920 law requires goods shipped between USA ports to be carried on American-built vessels that are flagged to the United States and owned and operated by US crews. Because Puerto Rico is a territory of the US, its citizens are American citizens, too - free to locate anywhere in the country they wish. Puerto Ricans have long argued the Jones Act makes food and everything else on the island more expensive than it is on the mainland.
But many people remain desperate for necessities, most urgently water, and nearly all of the island's 3.4 million residents - who are USA citizens - are without without power, with even hospitals are relying on generators.
"It is meant to ensure we have enough fuel and commodities to support lifesaving efforts, respond to the storm, and restore critical services and critical infrastructure operations in the wake of these devastating storms", Duke said. The island is finally starting to get the support that it desperately needs, despite Trump-who has blamed Puerto Rico for its own crisis-initially refusing to lift the act due to "a lot of people that work in the shipping industry" not wanting him to.
Critics say the Jones Act costs American jobs by encouraging residents in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Hawaii to buy foreign-made goods that are shipped on foreign flagged vessels, rather than goods made in America.
Emergency medicine physician Dr. Robert Fuller, who works at the University of CT and International Medical Corp, arrived in Puerto Rico to help out. The last previous waiver was in December 2012 to allow petroleum products to be delivered for relief assistance after Hurricane Sandy.
The original denial of Puerto Rico's request to waive the Jones Act set it apart from Texas and Florida, which both got waivers after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma hit earlier this year to prevent widespread fuel shortages.
The Jones Act, when it was established in 1920, was meant to promote shipping by USA -owned and operated vessels.