National Parks Group Applauds Passage of Hurricane Sandy Relief Bill

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   January 15, 2013
Contact:   Kati Schmidt, Senior Media Relations Manager, National Parks Conservation Association: 415.728.0840; Mobile: 415.847.1768
Craig Obey, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, National Parks Conservation Association: 202.669.9689


National Parks Group Applauds Passage of Hurricane Sandy Relief Bill

Statement by Craig Obey, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, National Parks Conservation Association

“The U.S. House of Representatives tonight passed legislation that will provide critical disaster relief funding for local communities, businesses, and national parks throughout the northeast that were devastated by Hurricane Sandy. This funding will provide shelter, power, and other basic necessities to struggling coastal communities, and will also support the recovery of our beloved national parks in the region." 

“We applaud Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen and all those who supported his amendment to provide full and fair storm relief, including $398 million for rebuilding our national parks, $360 million to rebuild coastal habitat and infrastructure in national parks and wildlife refuges to better withstand future storms, allowing local communities and our national parks to recover and re-open for business. Funding will also allow our national parks to get the needed work done in time to reopen by the summer vacation season, which will restore thousands of jobs and provide a critical economic and morale boost for local communities impacted by the storm."

“Despite passing the Freylinghuysen amendment, the House also passed unwarranted amendments that we hope the Senate will reject, including one sponsored by Rep. Bishop that prohibits the Interior Secretary from acquiring property to address public access impacts at national park units damaged by the storm. Examples could include creating a new trailhead or parking lot where the previous access point was destroyed or otherwise compromised. Another amendment sponsored by Rep. Flores eliminates funding to better plan to protect and restore the impacted coastline. Dozens of national park sites that were affected by Hurricane Sandy are well served by the coordinated planning of neighboring states. We urge the Senate to restore the funding for coastline protection and eliminate the language limiting the Interior Secretary’s authority to provide for public access."

“Superstorm Sandy ravaged  the Northeast nearly three months ago, destroying entire communities and causing unprecedented damage to more than 70 national park sites, including national icons such as the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Sandy Hook at Gateway National Recreation Area. The National Park Service has never faced this level of damage in a single natural disaster, and the cost is so extensive that it dwarfs even the deeply damaging anticipated budgetary sequester in scope.”

“We are grateful that, pending Senate passage of this important bill, additional funding will be provided for families and communities impacted by the storm, and that sufficient funding will be provided to ensure some of America’s greatest national treasures can recover, open for business, put people back to work, and continue to welcome visitors from across the globe.”   
                                                                     

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