Preparing for the Next Sandy
In recent weeks we have seen our fellow Americans face severe, record breaking storms causing billions of dollars in damage, destroying homes and tragically, taking lives. As New Jerseyans, we remember the pain and destruction that Sandy caused and know all too well the importance of preparing for the next storm. This is one of my top priorities in Congress.
Just this month, I was proud to see my SANDy Act pass the Senate and move one step closer to becoming law. During and after Sandy there was a major breakdown of communications networks. This created a dangerous barrier to emergency response and recovery for residents and towns.
The SANDy Act will recognize the critical role that cellular and home telephones, wireless internet, radio and television play during emergencies by providing priority access to otherwise restricted areas during emergencies. The bill would make sure all communication providers fix outages faster, even across state lines. It would also begin a process to provide 911 services over Wi-Fi hotspots during emergencies. Building on this effort, I worked with wireless providers on an agreement that shares information and advances wireless network resiliency before, during, and after disasters and emergencies. That agreement has already made a difference in improving communication during recent storms.
Last week, I introduced legislation to permanently create a Northeast Gasoline Supply Reserve. The Reserve is critical to ensuring that our region is protected from a disruption in the supply of gasoline due to a natural or manmade disaster. The Trump administration has moved to eliminate the existing reserve, which was created in 2014 in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. Given how severely limited access to gasoline was in the wake of Sandy, it is imperative to defend a measure that can save our economy and even save lives in an emergency.
Earlier this month, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was reauthorized through December 8th, unfortunately without any crucially needed changes. I am working with colleagues from both parties in the House and Senate to make substantive improvements to flood insurance. On July 18th, I introduced the Sustainable, Affordable, Fair, and Efficient (SAFE) NFIP Reauthorization Act, which would reauthorize the NFIP and make needed reforms – including capping premium increases, funding more accurate flood mapping, capping the reimbursements of flood insurance companies, and revamping the claims appeal process. I will continue to work to see this legislation enacted into law.
If you have a moment, please visit my webpage to share your thoughts on disaster preparedness. It is my job to represent you and I would appreciate your input on this crucial issue.
Lastly, one of my privileges as a Member of Congress is to assist my constituents on a range of issues, whether it be help with a federal agency, ordering a flag, or requesting tours and tickets for a visit to Washington DC. Please take a moment to visit my website to find out how I can serve you.
Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr.