After Final Sandy Relief Package Fails to Deliver Adequate Funding for Devastated NJ Fisheries, Lautenberg, Menendez Call for Immediate Aid & Assistance

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Frank R. Lautenberg and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today sent a letter to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan requesting substantial aid for recreational and commercial fisheries that were devastated by Superstorm Sandy. The Senators wrote: “Superstorm Sandy has inflicted punishing damage upon New Jersey’s hardworking fishing community. Along long stretches of coastline, almost every dock, slip, and marina was completely destroyed. Without necessary equipment and facilities, fishermen will be unable to maintain their livelihood and provide for their families. Unfortunately, the Sandy Recovery bill which just became law did not provide adequate resources for us to recover from our fisheries disaster. We ask for your assistance in correcting this deficiency and delivering substantial aid to those who need it the most.” The Senate successfully passed a $60.4 billion Sandy Relief Package in the 112th Congress which contained $150 million in aid for multiple fishery disasters, including the ones declared for New Jersey and New York, but that legislation did not reach the President’s desk after House Republican leadership failed to take action. The latest and final Sandy Relief Package, which originated in the House, slashed that funding and only allotted $5 million exclusively for the Sandy disaster. After months of unnecessary delay by House leadership, Senators Menendez and Lautenberg voted to pass the House bill in order to quickly deliver much needed assistance to New Jerseyans still suffering in Sandy’s aftermath. Full text of the letter is below: Dear Secretary Donovan, Thank you for your leadership in helping New Jersey recover from Superstorm Sandy. Your leadership will be sorely needed to help our area’s fishermen recover from this devastating disaster. Recreational and commercial fishing plays a tremendous role in New Jersey’s coastal economy. In total, the recreational and commercial fishing industry in New Jersey is worth approximately $3 billion and responsible for nearly 20,000 jobs. However, Superstorm Sandy has inflicted punishing damage upon New Jersey’s hardworking fishing community. Along long stretches of coastline, almost every dock, slip, and marina was completely destroyed. Many of these properties were run by small businesses that lacked insurance or were under-insured. Many small businesses associated with these marinas, such as bait and tackle shops and fishing charter boats, have been similarly devastated. Without necessary equipment and facilities, fishermen will be unable to maintain their livelihood and provide for their families. Unfortunately, the Sandy Recovery bill which just became law did not provide adequate resources for us to recover from our fisheries disaster. The Senate relief bill contained $150 million in aid for multiple fishery disasters, including the ones declared for New Jersey and New York. Unfortunately, the House bill slashed that funding and only allotted $5 million exclusively for the Sandy disaster. Due to the need for speedy assistance to the affected states, the Senate passed the relief bill without modification. However, given the scope of the devastation, as well as the importance of recreational and commercial fishing to New Jersey’s coastal economy, we believe the Community Development Block Grant program must be tapped to supplement the woefully inadequate $5 million provided for the fishery disaster in the bill. We ask for your assistance in correcting this deficiency and delivering substantial aid to those who need it the most. Thank you for your consideration of this request. Sincerely, ###

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