Sens. Menendez and Booker Send Letter on NJ Fishery Disaster Aid Included in Omnibus Spending Bill

Sens. Menendez and Booker Send Letter on NJ Fishery Disaster Aid Included in Omnibus Spending Bill

WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) sent a letter to Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, Acting Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), asking for the agency to give close consideration to the continuing needs of New Jersey as it works to provide much-needed relief to commercial and recreational fisheries impacted by disasters.

On Jan 16, 2014, Congress approved the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 which included $75 million in fishery disaster funds. This provision of the bill can help finance much needed assistance to New Jerseyans still suffering in Sandy's aftermath.

The Senators wrote: "Our hard-hit fishermen form an essential part of New Jersey's vibrant coastal community, and federal fishery disaster assistance would go a long way towards ensuring that this industry continues to facilitate economic and job growth, as well as provide valuable food and recreational resources throughout the region. As you work to allocate the latest round of funding, we ask that you give due consideration to the ongoing needs of both the recreational and commercial fishing industries in New Jersey."

New Jersey's hardworking fishing community was devastated bythe cascading economic and social impacts of Superstorm Sandy. The $75 million in funding comes in addition to the $5 million already appropriated for fishery disaster relief in New York and New Jersey through the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013.

The letter to Acting Administrator Sullivan can be downloaded here and follows below:

The Honorable Dr. Kathryn Sullivan
Acting NOAA Administrator
1401 Constitution Avenue, NW
Room 5128
Washington, DC 20230

Dear Acting Administrator Sullivan,

As the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) works to provide much-needed relief to commercial and recreational fisheries impacted by disasters, we ask that you give close consideration to the continuing needs of the State of New Jersey. In November 2012 the Acting Secretary of Commerce declared a fishery disaster in New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy battered the Atlantic coast, and brought particular devastation to the coastal communities and fishermen of our home state.

As you know, the declaration of such a disaster makes the state eligible to receive federal fishery disaster relief funding through NOAA. While the allocation of $5 million for Hurricane Sandy-related fishery disaster relief across multiple states in the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 was an important first step, a dire need for further funds remains in the state of New Jersey. The appropriation of $75 million in the recent Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 provides an opportunity for NOAA to continue to address the ongoing needs of the recreational and commercial fishing industries in New Jersey.

In a March 2013 report, NOAA estimated total uninsured losses from Hurricane Sandy to the fishing industry to be between $77-121 million in New Jersey alone. Our hard-hit fishermen form an essential part of New Jersey's vibrant coastal community, and federal fishery disaster assistance would go a long way towards ensuring that this industry continues to facilitate economic and job growth, as well as provide valuable food and recreational resources throughout the region. As you work to allocate the latest round of funding, we ask that you give due consideration to the ongoing needs of both the recreational and commercial fishing industries in New Jersey.

Again, thank you for your consideration of this important matter. For further questions or to follow up, please contact Jackie Schmitz at jackie_schmitz@menendez.senate.gov or at (202) 224-4744, or Adam Zipkin at adam_zipkin@booker.senate.gov or at (202) 228-3916.

Sincerely,

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Press Contact

Juan_Pachon@Menendez.senate.gov
202-224-4744