Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman (R-Somerset, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex) condemned the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for refusing to provide desperately needed flood control aid to Manville.
In the face of clear evidence proving the need for flood mitigation in Manville, the Army Corps of Engineers determined that flood control projects in the Manville area were not economically justifiable, in part due to declining property values.
“I am appalled that the Army Corps would use such a flawed and discriminatory methodology for authorizing flood mitigation projects. I cannot imagine a more heartless or senseless reason for denying the people of Manville the assistance they desperately need to protect their homes, businesses and their families from the clear and present danger of living in these flood zones. You cannot put a dollar value on people’s lives.
“The constant threat of flooding has caused property values in Manville to plummet. Businesses and families have been driven out of the community because they cannot afford to pay for flood insurance that now rivals the cost of their mortgage. The Army Corps of Engineers should have taken these factors into consideration before turning their backs on the people that need their help the most.
“No one, least of all a government agency that has wasted 10 years and $3 million studying this problem can deny that Manville is in dire need of comprehensive flood protection. By refusing to authorize a sorely-needed flood control project, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has made it abundantly clear that people who live in million-dollar homes are more deserving of their help than those who live in middle or working class communities.”
In September, Governor Christie signed a law authored by Senator Bateman establishing a task force to address Raritan and Delaware River flooding in Somerset and Hunterdon counties. Under the law, the Hunterdon-Somerset Flood Advisory Task Force will review past flooding events in Hunterdon and Somerset counties from flooding of the Delaware and Raritan rivers and their perspective tributaries and to make recommendations for mitigating future flooding. The task force would also review the effectiveness of county and local emergency response plans.
“As a lifelong resident of Somerset County, I have seen far too many homes and small businesses that have been irreversibly damaged by flooding. It is a disgrace that the Army Corps chose to spend $3 million studying flooding in Manville when they could have been building flood walls, dredging the river and developing other solutions to prevent future floods.
“As the architect of the recently-signed law creating the Hunterdon-Somerset Flood Advisory Task Force, I am dedicated to developing and implementing longterm solutions for our residents. I urge all Manville residents to come to me with their ideas and concerns so that we can work together to strengthen and rebuild this great community.”
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