40,000 tons of New Jersey’s rock salt still stuck in Searsport
NEW YORK — Rock salt was in short supply in the Northeast on Tuesday after successive winter storms led to critical shortages in Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania, while New Jersey scrambled to secure a huge shipment stuck at a port in Maine.
The shortages come as the East Coast was slammed by a third winter storm system in a single week, leaving many states over budget for snow removal and running low on critical supplies, such as rock salt, which is used to help melt ice- and snow-packed roads and public areas.
The 40,000 tons of rock salt remained in Searsport, Maine, days after New Jersey was denied a waiver of federal shipping rules that would have allowed an available foreign-flagged vessel to bring it into a Newark port.
Instead, efforts to get the ice-melting material to New Jersey remained stymied by the 1920 Maritime Act, also known as the Jones Act, enacted to protect the American shipping industry from foreign competition.
“It’s very frustrating. We could have had that shipment here by this past weekend,” said New Jersey Department of Transportation spokesman Joe Dee. Salt supplies were running so low in the state that crews were “scraping the bottom of the barrel,” he said. (Cavaliere/Bangor Daily News)