As part of a comprehensive, coordinated government preparation and response to Hurricane Sandy, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez and Frank R. Lautenberg today urged President Obama to swiftly approve the State of New Jersey's request for pre-landfall emergency declaration which would allow the state access to FEMA funds for emergency activities undertaken by local communities, particularly before the storm, to mitigate threat to residents, public health or safety.
In a letter to President Obama the Senators wrote: "Hurricane Sandy is expected to be an unprecedented storm, with heavy rains, high winds, dangerous storm surges and stream and river flooding that may threaten lives and personal property. Now that Governor Christie has formally requested a pre-landfall declaration of emergency, we want to underscore our strong support for this request to bring federal emergency protection resources to New Jersey."
The Senators' action came in support of a formal request to the President made earlier today by Governor Chris Christie for a pre-landfall emergency declaration.
Full text of the letter follows:
President Barack Obama
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear President Obama:
As you know, Hurricane Sandy is expected to be an unprecedented storm, with heavy rains, high winds, dangerous storm surges and stream and river flooding that may threaten lives and personal property. Now that Governor Christie has formally requested a pre-landfall declaration of emergency, we want to underscore our strong support for this request to bring federal emergency protection resources to New Jersey.
Already in New Jersey, we are seeing flooding along the coastal communities in southern New Jersey. As you know, because of the uniqueness of this storm and the high tides expected because of the full moon, this storm could bring surges of up to 8 feet along the coast. Many local communities have been evacuated.
Additionally, because this will be a protracted storm, very slow moving and lasting two days, the National Weather Service reported to us that we can expect 8-10 inches of rain in the south and 5-6 inches in the north. This huge volume of water will first hit the ocean and bay communities but will also ultimately severely affect our river basin communities, such as the Passaic Basin, which you visited with us after Hurricane Irene last year.
As you know, approving a pre-landfall emergency declaration means New Jersey's emergency responders and support agencies will have access to funding to support Category B (emergency protective measures) activities. Due to state budget restraints noted by the Governor, Federal assistance is critical to our state and local governments' pre-disaster preparations, and will help ensure New Jersey's residents are safe.
Thank you for your consideration and we look forward to working with you in bringing federal resources to New Jersey to protect our residents, our communities and our state.
Senator Robert Menendez
Senator Frank R. Lautenberg