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Pres. Obama and Gov. Christie Tour Damage to Shore

Date : Wed, 31 Oct 2012 14:30:35 -0400

For Immediate Release
October 31, 2012 Contact:Jeff Tittel, 609-558-9100

Pres. Obama and Gov. Christie Tour Damage to Shore Today President Obama and Governor Christie are touring the New Jersey coast to assess the damage of Hurricane Sandy.Jeff Tittel, Director of NJ Sierra Club, issued this statement in support of the tour:

"It is important for the Governor and President to put aside political differences and tour storm damage to the New Jersey coast.We believe that it is going to take help and cooperation from local, state, and federal governments to repair the damage that has been done to homes and businesses along our coast and other areas impacted by the storm.These are the times when you realize how important it is to have strong support from the federal government, especially FEMA."

"Unlike Gov. Christie, President Obama believes that government needs to put in place programs to deal with climate change and sea level rise.President Obama has the EPA developing regulations for greenhouse gases and has pushed for climate change legislation that was stopped in Congress.Instead Governor Christie has pulled New Jersey out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and has cut $600 million in clean energy funding. Governor Christie has eliminated the Office of Climate Change in DEP to study these impacts and help develop plans to combat them."

"While FEMA has developed new maps for New Jersey to show how flooding has gotten worse and how we need to protect people and property, Governor Christie has not adopted those more protective maps.The administration has failed to upgrade FEMA mapping and CAFRA standards because they do not want to limit development in those areas. By not fixing those maps people do not know they live in flood prone areas and do not get flood insurance, costing the tax payers more money.New Jersey continues to promote development in flood prone and wetland areas, which makes the consequences of weather events more extreme and places more people in harm's way."

"The EPA has just celebrated the 40^th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, while Gov. Christie is weakening protections for water in New Jersey.The EPA has criticized New Jersey for failing to clean up its combined sewer overflows (CSOs) which are now leaking into our waterways.EPA has called for programs to restore wetlands and stream buffers while Governor Christie is weakening these protections.The EPA opposed Gov. Christie's weakening of the Water Quality Management Plan and raised concern about his roll back of the stormwater and flood hazard rules, removing key protections like more fill in flood prone areas and stream buffers, increasing erosion and sedimentation in our waterways."

"We are glad Governor Christie sees a strong role for FEMA.We are concerned that Governor Romney wants to eliminate many of the powers of FEMA.Instead of having the federal government take an active role in disaster relief, those responsibilities would be handled by the states and have the states could privatize many of those functions.We believe disasters like Hurricane Sandy show why that is not workable and not good for the people impacted by these tragedies."

"While we need federal tax dollars to rebuild our beaches, Gov. Christie's beach access rules limit the public's ability to access beaches even though they are paying to rebuild them."

"As toxins leach into our flood waters from contaminated sites, the Obama administration has been strong on Superfund, using federal money to clean up sites.Meanwhile Governor Christie has been weakening clean up standards at sites controlled by NJDEP."

"As we continue to understand the devastation and impacts of Hurricane Sandy we are going to need to change things in New Jersey.In addition to relief aid we need our leaders to come up with better polices to address the impacts of flooding and climate change on our coast and flood prone areas. It is going to take partnership and tough choices on limiting development in flood prone areas, moving people out of harm's way and developing real comprehensive programs to reduce greenhouse gases and address climate change.We hope President Obama's visit will not only get us resources to help families in New Jersey rebuild but educate our governor on steps he needs to take to protect us from climate change with its storm surcharges and sea level rise."

Kate Millsaps
Conservation Program Coordinator
NJ Chapter of the Sierra Club
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Received on 2012-10-31 11:30:35

New Jersey Sierra Club, 145 West Hanover St., Trenton, NJ 08618, USA
tel: 609 656 7612, fax 609 656 7618
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