All requested by "secretariats" aka presidential yes-men run agencies.
Exxon Valdez: Following the grounding of the Exxon Valdez in 1989, Exxon requested foreign-flag oil skimming barges to assist in clean-up efforts. MARAD, DOD, and the Coast Guard supported the waiver, with the Coast Guard adding that it supported their use until U.S.-flag vessels could effectively replace the vessels. DOE also recommended approval citing the interest of national defense since the failure to act promptly and effectively could jeopardize the country’s energy supplies. The Customs Service (CBP’s predecessor) ultimately granted the waiver, but mandated that the vessels could not be used for supply purposes. This waiver and other associated waivers were subsequently extended until the threat passed.
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita: Following a DOE request, DHS granted a waiver after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. DHS stated that the catastrophic destruction brought about by Hurricane Katrina dramatically impeded the production and transportation of oil, gas, and other energy sources. Additionally, the administration decided to draw down the strategic petroleum reserve (“SPR”) and needed foreign-flag vessels to transport the supply. There was nationwide support, especially with a spike in gas prices following the catastrophe. Additionally, domestic maritime industry supported the waiver, acknowledging there was not capacity to handle the problem. After Hurricane Rita struck the Gulf Coast a few weeks later, DHS issued another waiver. However, this time the domestic industry protested, claiming that there were coastwise-qualified vessels ready and able to assist. Following the general waiver, the administration issued waivers on a case-by-case basis.
Libya: In 2011, President Obama decided to draw down the SPR after commencing hostilities in Libya. The President authorized the release of 30 million barrels of oil, apparently anticipating shortages due to the unavailability of Libyan crude oil. Out of 45 shipments of crude, 44 used foreign-flag vessels. Following this SPR drawdown, Congress enacted legislation requiring future SPR waivers to provide a written justification for not using coastwise-qualified vessels.
Hurricane Sandy: Following Hurricane Sandy in 2012, DHS issued a waiver to allow foreign-flag vessels to transport petroleum products to New England and the Mid-Atlantic regions. The waiver did not allow for the transport of crude oil or blendstock components. DHS issued the waiver four days after Sandy’s landfall in New Jersey, and the waiver lasted almost three weeks.