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Public Statements

Making Supplemental Appropriations for the Fiscal Year Ending September 30, 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, Hurricane Sandy was one of the costliest storms in our Nation's history, resulting in at least 125 deaths, the destruction of tens of thousands of homes and businesses, electricity losses for millions of people, disruption of fuel supplies, and devastating damage to public infrastructure. When Hurricane Sandy struck land on October 29, hurricane-force winds covered 900 miles, wreaking havoc across a broad stretch of the Eastern seaboard. While the impact of Hurricane Sandy was most severe in New Jersey and New York, the storm impacted 24 States, including Michigan. Across the Great Lakes, gale force winds caused damage to breakwaters and silted in harbors and channels. On Lake Huron, wave heights reached 23 feet, in Lake Michigan the waves peaked at 22 feet, and the storm caused waves of 14 feet in Lake Erie.

Ms. MIKULSKI. The storm was one of the most devastating in our Nation's history, and the assistance that is so needed to address the widespread damage is long past due.

Mr. LEVIN. The supplemental appropriations bill before us today includes $821 million for necessary expenses related to Hurricane Sandy to dredge Federal navigation channels and repair damage to Corps projects. Great Lakes channels, harbors, breakwaters, and piers were damaged by gale-force winds caused by Hurricane Sandy. The Army Corps of Engineers estimates damage to the Great Lakes System of $17 million, including in my State of Michigan. This system transports over 160 million tons of commodities and hundreds of thousands of jobs are tied to the system. It is vital that repairs be made promptly. Madam Chairwoman, will these Great Lakes navigational projects damaged by Hurricane Sandy be eligible for some of the $821 million in funding?

Ms. MIKULSKI. Yes. The funding is for necessary expenses related to the consequences of Hurricane Sandy, and since Great Lakes Federal navigation projects were damaged as a result of that storm, they would indeed be eligible.

Mr. LEVIN. I thank the Senator for her assurances.

Mr. President, I will vote in support of the disaster assistance bill to aid the victims of Hurricane Sandy, who number in the millions. Hurricane Sandy covered over 900 miles, took over 125 lives, destroyed homes and businesses, demolished breakwaters, piers, boardwalks, and other infrastructure, and left millions without transportation. This superstorm occurred nearly 3 months ago, and assistance is long past due for the victims who remain homeless and communities trying to rebuild.

Hurricane Sandy left such far-reaching devastation that its destruction reached into the Great Lakes. Gale force winds across the Great Lakes caused damage to breakwaters and silted in harbors and channels. The bill before us provides $821 million to dredge Federal navigation channels and repair damage to Corps projects impacted by Hurricane Sandy. I entered into a colloquy with Chairwoman Mikulski to ensure that the damage incurred to Great Lakes harbors as a result of Hurricane Sandy would be eligible for that funding. I thank Senator Mikulski for clarifying that funding could go to the Great Lakes, and I hope the Corps will prioritize funding for those Great Lakes projects, which are estimated to require about $17 million in repairs.

We have a responsibility to help our fellow Americans who have lost homes and businesses through no fault of their own, and I hope we will pass this bill and immediately send it to the President for his signature. Hurricane Sandy is estimated to be the second or third most costly disaster in U.S. history. We need to provide the assistance promptly to those affected by Hurricane Sandy.


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