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Pascrell Seeks Help for Cresskill Resiliency after Tropical Storm Ida

Congressman requests full funding from Army Corp of Engineers for Tenakill Brook restoration, flood prevention project

U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) today requested full-fledged federal support for to study on how to protect Cresskill from future flood events after Tropical Storm Ida caused upwards of $20 million in damage to the borough. In a letter to Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Michael Connor, Pascrell urged support for a request by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and local officials to initiate a flood prevention study to help protect Cresskill against future disasters.

“I write in strong support of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Tenakill Brook, Cresskill, NJ, Section 205 Project and request that it be fully funded in your plan for the Disaster Supplemental (Public Law No: 117-43) passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden on September 30, 2021,” wrote Rep. Pascrell. “I encourage the USACE will give full and fair consideration to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s request that USACE initiate a study to determine federal interest in a partnership to study flood risk reduction measures… I urge the USACE work with NJDEP and Cresskill to ensure my constituents can rebuild and be protected against the next major storm.”

Rep. Pascrell fought for emergency supplemental funding to help families, small businesses, and communities devastated by Hurricane Ida. In September, Pascrell voted in favor of H.R. 5305, the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act, which passed the House on a bipartisan 254 to 175 vote and was signed by President Biden. The law provides $28.6 billion in emergency disaster funding to address the rising cost of climate change including major disasters declared in 2021 and prior years, such as Hurricanes Ida. Included in this funding is $100 million for the USACE to study potential projects that would reduce risk from future floods and hurricanes and $3 billion to accelerate construction of flood and storm damage reduction projects to reduce risk from future floods and hurricanes.

Rep. Pascrell has worked closely with Cresskill leaders since Ida devastated the community. The storm caused the closure of the Cresskill middle and high school building, displacing hundreds of students since the beginning of the school year. Rep. Pascrell has also organized meetings between his office and Cresskill community leaders to ensure continued communication between the borough and federal agencies.

Rep. Pascrell’s full letter to Assistant Secretary Connor is provided below.

 

January 4, 2022

 

The Honorable Michael Connor

Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works

108 Army Pentagon

Washington, D.C. 20310-0108

 

 

Dear Assistant Secretary Connor:

I write in strong support of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Tenakill Brook, Cresskill, NJ, Section 205 Project and request that it be fully funded in your plan for the Disaster Supplemental (Public Law No: 117-43) passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden on September 30, 2021. I encourage the USACE will give full and fair consideration to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s request that USACE initiate a study to determine federal interest in a partnership to study flood risk reduction measures. I appreciate the hard work from the staff at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New York District office to assist my community in preparing against a future storm. As you know, the remnants of Hurricane Ida killed at least 30 people in New Jersey, making it the second-deadliest storm in our state’s history. We have not seen such flooding since Superstorm Sandy.

The Disaster Supplemental provided $28.6 billion in disaster relief funding, including $100 million for “high-priority studies of projects in States with a major disaster declared due to Hurricane Ida pursuant to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq.) in fiscal year 2021.” The President approved a major disaster for the State of New Jersey (FEMA-4614-DR) on September 5, 2021 pursuant to the Stafford Act that included Cresskill in Bergen County.

As Mayor Romeo stated to the NJDEP following the hurricane, “Cresskill was devasted by flooding from Tropical Strom Ida.” The heavy fall caused Tenakill Brook to be clogged with sediment and debris that inflicted over $20 million in damage to the local middle and high school. The school has been closed all school year, affecting students who had been learning virtually due to the pandemic and were excited to return to classrooms full time. The NJDEPs letter to USACE recognizes that the “damages and needed flood risk reduction measures are above and beyond the capability of the local government.” I strongly encourage the USACE provide any assistance possible to design a technically feasible, economically justified, and environmentally acceptable project to improve the resiliency of Cresskill against future storms.

Therefore, as requested by the NJDEP, I urge the USACE work with NJDEP and Cresskill to ensure my constituents can rebuild and be protected against the next major storm. Thank you very much for your attention to my request. I stand ready to work with you, the State and local community. Please do not hesitate to aid our neighbors to expedite our recovery.

Sincerely,

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