Ida Recovery and Flood Mitigation Efforts Need State and Federal Support
Senator Joe Pennacchio said Morris County needs immediate State and federal support to address flood damage caused by Hurricane Ida and to mitigate the impact of flooding in the future.
Morris County was not among the counties listed in a federal disaster declaration on September 5 as a result of Hurricane Ida, leaving residents ineligible for direct recovery assistance. (FEMA)
“It’s extremely disappointing that President Biden didn’t declare a Major Disaster Area for Morris County following Hurricane Ida and his visit to New Jersey,” said Pennacchio (R-26). “Instead of fighting for help when they had the chance, our representatives in Congress settled for a photo op with the President. Our residents need federal disaster funding for Morris County, not pictures on Facebook.”
Morris County was not among the New Jersey counties that suffered devastating flooding following Ida that were declared a Major Disaster Area by the Biden administration.
If such a declaration were made, Morris County residents would become eligible for direct federal disaster assistance, including funding for recovery efforts.
Pennacchio noted that Morris County also was denied tens of millions of dollars of direct COVID-19 relief funds from the federal government that other counties received last year under the CARES Act simply because the county fell a few thousand residents short of an arbitrary threshold.
“What’s happening with Hurricane Ida is yet another example of Morris County getting short-changed by Washington,” said Pennacchio. “Our residents don’t deserve to be ignored when federal relief funds are being delivered to other hard-hit counties on our borders. We’re right in the middle of the devastation.”
Pennacchio also said the Murphy administration should stop ignoring solutions that could be employed in New Jersey to help with long-term flood mitigation efforts.
Following Hurricane Irene in 2011 and Superstorm Sandy in 2012, Pennacchio has sponsored several bipartisan bills to help address flooding.
The first bill, S-923, was initially introduced in January of 2012. The legislation would put a ballot initiative before voters to fund flood control, mitigation, and prevention projects across New Jersey.
Another bill, S-1554, was first introduced in 2014 following Sandy. It would establish a State fund to help homeowners in flood-prone areas to lift their homes
“Lifting homes can be a more cost-effective solution than repairing repeated flood damage or buying and razing homes,” added Pennacchio. “Since lifting homes often costs much less the alternatives, we can have a much bigger impact and protect more families from the devastating flooding caused by storms like Irene, Sandy, and Ida. It’s beyond time for Governor Murphy and the Legislature to get behind solutions like these.”
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