NJ Congressman Worried About Potential Shoreline Cuts [AUDIO]
As the Sandy Relief Bill moves closer to materializing, Congressman Rush Holt (D-12) warns cuts to the Regional Ocean Partnerships in the legislation will prove detrimental to the region as it recovers.
The NOAA Regional Ocean Partnership Funding Program, created under the George W. Bush administration, allows academic and local organizations to apply for funding to make information about the ocean and shore more accessible to the public.
According to Holt, "These grants help scientists understand where and how the shoreline has changed, evaluate the long-term effects of storm damage, and prepare mitigation plans for future severe weather events."
"If you're going to rebuild barriers and jetties and fishers that have been damaged by a hurricane it would be good to be dealing with the facts," says Holt.
Holt believes that by removing the Ocean Partnerships from the Bill, they are in saying that they don't care how the money is spent. He claims there was fear the Ocean Partnerships aren't perceived as "pure reconstruction" after the storm.
"The point is you want to rebuild in a smart way, you want to spend the recovery money in a smart way."
He understands that while wasteful spending in legislation, dubbed "pork", should be condemned and removed, however not all government spending should be considered wasteful.
"Anytime you hire a scientist to survey fisheries or anytime you hire a communications person to make sure NOAA data about shorelines, oceans, and estuaries is made available to public is somehow pork is a somewhat fanatical point of view."
The restriction on the Regional Ocean Partnerships are only in this appropriation according to Holt, and he hopes it can be reintroduced in future measures. However he says the targeting of the program shows "it has its enemies in Congress."