U.S. Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-8) today announced that language to authorize the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to invest $6 million for voluntary home buyouts in flood prone areas of Passaic County is included in the final version of the FY 2012 Consolidated Appropriations bill that was approved in the House and Senate.
As a member of the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Lautenberg included this language in the Senate Appropriations Committee's version of the Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill earlier this year and worked with Senator Menendez and Congressman Pascrell to ensure its inclusion in the final bill.
"The federal government is stepping up again to help flood victims in the Passaic River Basin in the wake of Hurricane Irene and recent storms," stated Lautenberg, a member of the Senate Energy and Water Subcommittee, which funds the Army Corps of Engineers. "Voluntary home buyouts won't solve all of our flood problems, but they are a good start in our efforts to take families out of harm's way and reduce future damage in our communities. While we continue to seek long-term solutions, this funding will make our communities are safer and create open space so that flood waters are absorbed into the ground instead of our families' basements and homes."
"The provision that Senator Lautenberg and I inserted into to the water funding legislation will help people who have endured severe flooding over and over again. We pledged to do everything we can to get people out of harm's way. By hacking through some of the bureaucratic red tape, additional federal funding is now available to homeowners in flood-prone areas," said U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, a co-chair of the Congressional Hurricane Irene Coalition. "We know that there is still much work to be done. But this $6 million in federal funds to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for voluntary buyouts in Wayne and Pompton Lakes will be a great help in people getting on with their lives in a safer place."
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will work with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and local communities to select the homes to be acquired in the Passaic River Basin. Last week, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) awarded eight towns in five New Jersey counties with $28 million for approximately 150 voluntary home buyouts, including 129 in the Passaic River Basin.
In addition, Senators Lautenberg and Menendez and Congressman Pascrell have secured funding for the Corps to work with NJDEP to evaluate long-term, comprehensive solutions to flooding in the Passaic River Basin.