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Sandy Budget Committee Hearing: Need Tough Choices on Rebuilding

Date : Thu, 6 Dec 2012 12:54:14 -0500


For Immediate Release
November 26, 2012 Contact: Jeff Tittel, Director, NJ Sierra Club, 609-558-9100

Sandy Budget Committee Hearing: Need Tough Choices on Rebuilding Today the Senate Budget Committee is holding a hearing on the impacts of Hurricane Sandy.Jeff Tittel, Director NJ Sierra Club, issued the following statement on the hearing:

"It is important for mayors and public officials to let us know what the major impacts of the storm were and it is good to start taking a look at what happened during Hurricane Sandy.We need to look at what worked and what didn't work, but more importantly we need to learn where things must be improved.We also need to look at what happened and hold those agencies accountable were there was failure; whether it is the Passaic Valley Sewerage Authority which is still spewing out partially treated sewage 3 weeks after the storm, NJ Transit that stormed equipment in the wrong places causing close to $1 billion in losses, or oil spills in the Arthur Kill and contaminated sites getting washed out.More importantly we need to look at the failure of government to properly plan for infrastructure and place them in flood prone area and coastal areas.There are loopholes in current laws such as CAFRA and the state not requiring dunes to be maintained, the state not adopting new FEMA maps and not adequately map for storm surges, all of which need to be addressed.Now we need to look at what changes we have to make as we move forward with rebuilding."

"Even more important is looking at how we rebuild the coast in flood prone areas in a way that is going to protect people and property in the future.What steps need to be taken and what are the tough choices that need to be made, or is this all just political posturing without any real change.The state of New Jersey cannot afford grandstanding, too many people are hurting.We need to get to the bottom of why things were so bad and then come up with long term solutions to fix the problems."

"Rollbacks to environmental protections make flooding worse.Governor Christie weakened land use tools within the DEP that prevent sprawl in flood prone and wetland areas.His administration has rolled back the stormwater and flood hazard rules, removing key protections like zero net fill and stream buffers, increasing erosion and sedimentation in our waterways.The DEP has proposed a waiver rule that is so vague that virtually any development project can skirt the rules of critical environmental programs.We need the Legislature to stop these rollbacks to protect our families from the impacts of these storms."

"Today was the first hearing but will they listen?Will they spend the time to do fact finding and get to the bottom of what happened and then come up with changes in policies and laws to not only help New Jersey rebuild but to protect us better from future storms?Will we do it better and smarter or will we end up with business as usual?Nature may bring the rain but government policies make the consequences worse.It is unfortunate that the rollback of environmental protections and the failure to close legislative loopholes may have made the impact to the coast worse."

"As we recover from this disaster we need to rebuild but we have to make sure it is the right projects in the right places."

Kate Millsaps
Conservation Program Coordinator
NJ Chapter of the Sierra Club
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Received on 2012-12-06 09:54:14

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