Continuing in his efforts secure federal aid for residents recovering from the almost relentless rains and flooding, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-8) called upon President Barack Obama to expedite a declaration of disaster in the New Jersey due to flooding resulting from Tropical Storm Lee.
The text of Rep. Pascrell's letter to President Obama, sent early this afternoon, follows:
September 9, 2011
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear President Obama:
I write to you today to ask that you expeditiously declare a major disaster for the State of New Jersey due to the rainfall and flooding that is currently occurring as a result of the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee. I understand that our Governor has officially requested a declaration.
I was pleased to walk with you this past weekend on the streets of Paterson and Wayne in my congressional district and show you first hand the devastation that Hurricane Irene brought to the people of New Jersey. Though that storm has passed, the damage it left in its wake remains and people in my district still continue to deal with the effects.
You witnessed yourself the power of the swollen Passaic River when we stood together on the bridges that span it in Paterson. According to United States Geological Survey data, the river had barely receded from its flood stage on September 4th before once again rising above it 48 hours later due to the heavy and sustained rains. The river has been at major flood stage since Wednesday evening and the National Weather Service projects it will not recede from that level until after the end of the weekend. This has led to major road closures throughout the state and my district, widespread evacuations, and approximately 74 people staying in emergency shelters in Passaic County alone.
As you can imagine, this rainfall comes at the worst possible time for the citizens of New Jersey, particularly those living in the Passaic River Basin. Families and businesses had not even begun the process of recovering and rebuilding following Hurricane Irene--one of New Jersey's worst flooding events of the past 100 years--before this new storm dumped even more rain into the already saturated soil and rivers.
The people of my district and across New Jersey need your help. I strongly urge you to grant the Governor's request for an expedited disaster declaration as soon as possible.
Bill Pascrell, Jr.
Member of Congress