Yesterday, Governor Chris Christie said New Jersey’s congressional delegation will help in getting federal dollars to help the state recover and rebuild after super-storm Sandy. This morning, U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee on local impacts of the storm.

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“Over the past month, I have spoken on the Senate floor and before this committee to outline the devastation wrought on my home state of New Jersey by super-storm Sandy,” says Lautenberg. “The human toll of this storm almost defies description. Roughly eight million households throughout the region lost power during the storm, including more than 2.5 million in my state. FEMA estimates the total number of buildings damaged at nearly 72,000. These are storefronts, offices, restaurants, public buildings, and homes.

Lautenberg says we’ve all learned a valuable lesson from this storm in the hardest way. He says when we don’t invest in our infrastructure, we leave our communities and our residents in grave danger and that’s why in the wake of this storm, we are working to not only recover, but to rebuild stronger so we are better prepared for the next storm.

“Overall, New Jersey’s initial estimate says that damage to the entire state is at least $29.4 billion—with costs expected to rise,” explains the Senator. “We could have avoided some of that damage if we had invested in advance. Army Corps beach projects protect taxpayers by preventing the kind of storm damage that FEMA is now paying to clean up—and at a fraction of the cost.”

Also today, Lautenberg introduced the “Superfund Emergency Response Act” which requires EPA to perform an assessment of Superfund sites following any natural disaster and allows Congress to appropriate emergency funding to remediate any damage or toxic release. The bill will also require EPA to come up with a plan to better protect Superfund sites that are vulnerable to future disasters.