The Governor of Puerto Rico, Pedro Pierluisi, thanked the Biden administration for the exemption in a tweet on wednesday.
He was among several lawmakers, activists and others who previously pushed the administration to waive the Jones Act. The governor on Monday requested a waiver for a private supplier hoping to unload fuel in Puerto Rico; a BP spokesman confirmed that the company filed an exemption request for a vessel carrying diesel on September 20.
Rep. Nydia Velázquez (DN.Y.), who sent a letter this week requesting the waiver with seven other lawmakers, said she welcomed Mayorkas’ decision.
“This is a life or death situation,” Velázquez said in a tweet, adding, “I encourage the Administration to take further steps to ensure the people of Puerto Rico can fully recover from Hurricane Fiona.”
Calls to waive the law after the hurricane came from both sides of the aisle: Republican Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Mike Lee (Utah) previously voiced support for such a waiver.
Hurricane Fiona caused widespread flooding and major power outages when it hit Puerto Rico last week. At least two people died, according to authorities, one in Puerto Rico and one in the Dominican Republic.
The Department of Homeland Security has previously waived the Jones Act in other national disasters, including when Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in 2017.
Because Puerto Rico is an island, the Jones Act may cause the price of consumer goods to be higher than in other areas, since almost everything must be imported, POLITICO previously reported.
Unions have widely supported the rule as it protects American shipbuilding and maritime industries.
Shayna Greene and Gloria González contributed to this report.