Congressman Pascrell Lauds Release of Sandy Task Force Rebuilding Strategy
By Mel Fabrikant Tuesday, August 20, 2013, 03:58 PM EDT
U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) today lauded the release of the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force’s Strategy Document - a rebuilding strategy to serve as a model for communities across the nation facing greater risks from extreme weather and to continue helping the Sandy-affected region rebuild. The Rebuilding Strategy contains 69 policy recommendations, many of which have already been adopted, that will help homeowners stay in and repair their homes, strengthen small businesses and revitalize local economies and ensure entire communities are better able to withstand and recover from future storms.
"Although we still have work to do in communities like Little Ferry and Moonachie, these recommendations will ensure we rebuild stronger and better prepared for future disasters," said Rep. Pascrell. "The Rebuilding Strategy will serve as a comprehensive guide to our ongoing recovery work, with guidelines that will help ensure our investments make us more resilient to storms, flooding, and other disasters. In particular, we need to be sure that our efforts are less vulnerable to sea level rise and stronger storms which are being brought on due to global climate change. As we continue down the path of recovery, I will fight to ensure Northern New Jersey communities have the federal resources they need to rebuild."
On December 7, 2012 President Obama signed an executive order creating the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force to “…ensure that the Federal Government continues to provide appropriate resources to support affected State, local, and tribal communities to improve the region's resilience, health, and prosperity by building for the future.”
Rep. Pascrell recommended both Mayor Vaccaro and Raguseo to the Hurricane Sandy Task Force to ensure the hard-hit Bergen County towns of Moonachie and Little Ferry were represented in the rebuilding strategy.
Citing concerns that Northern New Jersey Communities impacted by Sandy were not getting the same level of attention as other affected areas, Rep. Pascrell wrote to Secretary Donovan in April urging him to visit Bergen County to see Sandy's devastation firsthand. Rep. Pascrell followed this letter up with a phone call with Secretary Donovan a week ago.
Among the recommendations in the Rebuilding Strategy that will have the greatest impact on Federal funding is a process to prioritize all large-scale infrastructure projects and map the connections and interdependencies between them, as well as guidelines to ensure all of those projects are built to withstand the impacts of climate change. The Strategy also explores how to harden energy infrastructure to minimize power outages and fuel shortages – and ensure continuation of cellular service – in the event of future storms.
The goal of these and other recommendations in the Strategy is to:
•Align federal funding with local rebuilding visions.
•Cut red tape and get assistance to families, businesses, and communities efficiently and effectively, with maximum accountability.
•Coordinate the efforts of the Federal, State, and local governments, with a region-wide approach to rebuilding.
•Ensure the region is rebuilt in a way that makes it more resilient – that is, better able to withstand future storms and other risks posed by a changing climate.