Menendez, Lautenberg Call on Senate Appropiations Committee Leaders to Fund Sandy Hook Lab

Menendez, Lautenberg Call on Senate Appropiations Committee Leaders to Fund Sandy Hook Lab

Senators Will Work to Save New Jersey Jobs & Keep Lab Open

Washington - U.S. Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) have called on Senate Appropriations Committee leaders to provide the necessary funding in Fiscal Year 2013 to preserve the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) lab in Sandy Hook. The Obama Administration released its budget plan earlier this week and proposed to eliminate funding for the James J. Howard lab in Sandy Hook, which would result in the lab's closure. For more than 50 years, the lab has been a leading research institution for marine science and fisheries. Senator Lautenberg is a member of the Appropriations Committee and serves on the Subcommittee that oversees funding for NOAA.

"We recognize that mandatory spending cuts will require difficult decisions. However, eliminating funding for this facility is a short-sighted decision that will not restore fiscal security, but will eliminate jobs and undermine important research. We urge you to provide the funding necessary to ensure this important facility continues operating in Sandy Hook, New Jersey," the Senators wrote.

Lautenberg and Menendez sent their letter to Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye and Vice Chairman Thad Cochran, and Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science Chairman Barbara Mikulski and Ranking Member Kay Bailey Hutchison. A copy can be found here and the text is copied below.

In addition, Sens. Lautenberg and Menendez and Congressman Frank Pallone sent a letter last week to President Obama urging the Administration to reconsiders its decision to close the lab.


February 16, 2012

Dear Chairmen Inouye and Mikulski, Vice Chairman Cochran and Ranking Member Hutchison:

As you begin work on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, we request that you include sufficient funding to preserve the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) James J. Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory, located in Sandy Hook, New Jersey. The President's FY 2013 budget proposed closing the facility, threatening the vital research and jobs the laboratory provides.

For over fifty years, the James J. Howard Laboratory has been a national leader on fisheries and marine science. Specifically, the laboratory is part of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center, which provides invaluable research on fisheries, marine ecology, and climate change impacts. This research is vital to maintaining healthy fisheries throughout the Northeast, including New Jersey's $168 million fishing industry, as well as protecting our fragile marine ecosystems.

Nearly forty scientists work today at the Howard Laboratory due to its unique geography and research facilities. Its eleven seawater laboratories, including a 32,000 gallon aquarium, allow scientists to study the feeding, reproduction, migration, life habits, and other behavior of coastal marine species under controlled conditions. The laboratory also operates multiple research vessels and administers joint research projects with universities.

We recognize that mandatory spending cuts will require difficult decisions. However, eliminating funding for this facility is a short-sighted decision that will not restore fiscal security, but will eliminate jobs and undermine important research. We urge you to provide the funding necessary to ensure this important facility continues operating in Sandy Hook, New Jersey.

Sincerely,

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