Because of the crazy weather this winter, the state of New Jersey ran out of rock salt, which is used to melt snow.
Before winter comes, New Jersey stocks up on rock salt. They fill these little igloo-like buildings along the New Jersey turnpike to the brim with salt. And then empty them out onto the highways with every storm. This year, there was so much snow, the state ran out of salt at the beginning of February.
So New Jersey bought 40,000 tons of rock salt from a supplier up in Searsport, Maine. That’s when New Jersey ran into the Jones Act, a World War I era law that prohibits foreign-flagged ships from going to two domestic ports in a row.
Because of the Jones Act, it was surprisingly difficult for state officials to get the salt from Maine to New Jersey.