Menendez, Lautenberg, Pallone Fight to Keep NOAA Lab at Sandy Hook Open

Menendez, Lautenberg, Pallone Fight to Keep NOAA Lab at Sandy Hook Open

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Newark - Today,U.S.SenatorsFrank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Robert Menendez(D-NJ)and U.S. Representative Frank Pallone (D-NJ-6) toured the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA)James J. Howard lab inSandy Hookto highlight its importance to New Jersey's coastal economy and environment. TheFiscal Year 2013budgetrequestreleased by NOAA in February proposed to eliminate funding for the lab, which would result in its closure. During a press conference today outside the lab,Lautenberg, Menendez and Pallonevowed to work through thecongressional appropriations process to protect funding for thiscritical research facility.

"Closing this lab wouldjeopardizeimportant efforts to protect New Jersey's shore andcoastal areasacrossthe country,"saidLautenberg, whois a member of the Appropriations Committee and serves on the Subcommittee thatfundsNOAA. "The Howard Lab is a blessing for our state's economy and a boon for our environment. It has helped New Jersey's fishing industry and our state'sprosperouscoastal economythrive. From my position on the Senate Appropriations Committee, I will fight tokeep the Howard Lab open."

"For more than 50 years, the Howard Lab has been a unique and invaluable resource for our fisherman, scientists, students, the surrounding communities and the nation.Our fishermen and our scientists need to know what is happening here to scup, to black sea bass and to summer flounder. Our regional economy needs the good jobs that are sustained through the important research performed here. And our nation needs the critical scientific understanding of how we can best maintain a clean and sustainable ocean environment,"said Menendez.

"The Howard lab at Sandy Hook is the only one of its kind in the region and is doing critical scientific research to keep our waters clean and fishable and improve the health and safety of coastal communities,"said Pallone. "I am committed to doing everything possible to keep this important facility open and functioning at full capacity and to make sure that the lab has the necessary funding to continue its important work."

In February, Senators Lautenberg and Menendez and Representative Pallonesent a letterto President Obama urging the Administration to reconsidersits decision to close the lab. Senators Lautenberg and Menendez have alsocalled onSenateAppropriations Committee leaders toprovide the necessary funding to preservethe NOAA lab in Sandy Hook.