Connecticut Representatives Rosa DeLauro, Joe Courtney and Jim Himes released the following statements today condemning the inclusion of a misguided amendment cutting funding from McKinney Wildlife Refuge to the bill providing disaster relief for Hurricane Sandy victims.
The funding originally included in the bill would have helped restore federally protected research buildings at the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge that were severely damaged during Hurricane Sandy. An unwarranted amendment by Representative John Fleming of Louisiana cut all the funding.
"I voted for the bill and am pleased it will provide much-needed relief for Connecticut, but this was a vindictive amendment that needlessly slashes disaster relief for one particular state," DeLauro said. "Federal disaster relief is meant to restore homes, businesses, communities and federal facilities to their pre-disaster conditions. We do this whether the disaster is a fire in the west, a tornado in the south, or a hurricane in the northeast. There is no good reason to make an exception of the McKinney Refuge. By cutting the funding needed to rebuild the Connecticut coastline to its pre-Sandy condition, this amendment prevents the McKinney Refuge from meeting its federal commitment to conserve wildlife and provide education and outdoor recreation for the public. This is a terrible precedent for disaster aid."
Courtney said "Given the fact that the proponent of the amendment comes from a state that received $71 million in wildlife restoration funds in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, this amendment is a bitter pill for a state like Connecticut--a donor state to the federal government. Hopefully this project will be properly funded at a later date so that there will be parity for all states impacted by disasters."