FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Barbara Hester – PR Coordinator (808) 384-5907
Gayle Gardner – Campaign Chairman (808) 595-7127
Alice Paet-Ah Sing – Campaign Director (808) 542-2902
John Carroll – Candidate (808) 526-9111 (808) 545-3800 fax
Gubernatorial Candidate, John Carroll, Former State Senator and Former Chair of the Republican Party of Hawai‘i, announced today that he and Honolulu attorney Christopher Dias have filed a precedent setting law suit. The suit requests for injunctive relief from the United States Government, relief from the provisions of the Jones Act, which created shipping restrictions that adversely apply to only one State in the Union; the island State of Hawai`i. Carroll stated that the restrictions are excessively expensive for Hawai`i’s people and are in violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments as well as the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Carroll stated that he had originally intended to instruct his Attorney General to file a class action on behalf of the people of the State of Hawai`i when he took office as Governor. He now states he sees no reason to delay. Carroll believes in getting things done. Carroll explained, “One of the purposes of enacting the Jones Act was to ensure that the United States of America would be well equipped with a maritime fleet that could compete in a worldwide economy. Unfortunately, it created unconstitutional restrictions on commerce between the State of Hawai`i and worldwide shippers as well as on interstate commerce.”
Since Hawai`i is separated from the continental United States by 2,300 miles of ocean and, of course, has no highways, railroads or pipelines from the continental United States, Hawai`i is dependent on ocean shipping for at least 90 percent of every commodity used and consumed in the state.
The Impact of the Jones Act on the People of Hawai‘i
The Jones Act requires that for a ship to operate in interstate commerce, (between states), it must be built in America, owned by Americans, 75 percent manned by an American crew, and maintained and flagged in the United States. The net effect of the enforcement of the Jones Act on the State of Hawai‘i’s population has been wide-ranging.
Examples: The expense of agricultural production became prohibitive, not only because of the inbound shipping cost of fertilizers, herbicides, and farm implements but also due to the outbound shipping costs for our locally grown fruits, livestock and ornamental plants. Hawai‘i cattle ranchers are faced with an intolerable situation. They often have to transport their cattle, from Kawaihae to Vancouver B.C. on a Canadian owned Corral Lines to remain profitable. The cattle must then be trucked (often for 500 miles) into the U.S. to be fattened and sold. To go direct, some are flown on Boeing 747 aircraft.
There has emerged a monopolistic control of shipping in and out of the State of Hawai‘i, eliminating the cost reduction benefits of competition. As will be shown at trial, the cost of everything from automobiles to paper towels is significantly higher because of the enforcement of the Jones Act provisions.
By comparison, the tiny islands of Singapore and Hong Kong, which do not have similar trade restrictions and with less than 1/20th the land mass of Hawai’i, enjoy a Gross Domestic Product in excess of two billion (2,000,000,000.00) U.S. dollars per year. That is 40 times greater than Hawai`i’s GDP of fifty million (50,000,000.00) U.S. dollars per year when government spending and tourism are excluded. This is an absurdity for Hawai‘i’s economic viability.
The Fundamental Purposes of the Commerce Clause
The fundamental purposes of the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution are, among others, “…to assure the unrestricted flow of commerce throughout the several states,” 282 NE2d 336, “…to assure to the commercial enterprises in every state substantial equality to access to a free national market,” 517 P2d 691. Further, the “…power granted is a positive power to legislate concerning transactions which, reaching across state boundaries, affect the people of more states than one, and to govern affairs which the individual states,with their limited territorial jurisdictions, are not fully capable of governing.” 322 US 533. Clearly, the Jones Act and its provisions are in direct violation of the spirit of the Commerce Clause.