This week the Passaic River in New Jersey overflowed for the second time in one month as heavy rains from Tropical Storm Lee hammered the East Coast.
Flood warning have been issued for much of New Jersey and Eastern New York, where many residents are still recovering from Hurricane-turned-Tropical- Storm Irene.
Heavy flooding throughout the Tri-State region has Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials hurrying to open disaster recovery centers.
But the battle over fiscal management that began in Congress shortly after Irene hit New York has caused a rift between freshman G.O.P. members and party leadership as municipalities wait for federal aid.
While new flooding from Lee hasn’t yet caused major issues, many residents and officials in New Jersey and New York fear heavy rains throughout the week will further delay relief efforts for Irene, reported USA Today.
In Northern New Jersey, where the Passaic River has again overflowed and flooded parts of several highways, the fear is becoming more intense and officials are extra-cautious in their handling of the situation, reported the Record.
In Parsippany, N.J., where many homes were severely flooded, residents are frustrated by a mix-up over the control of the Boonton Reservoir. United Water, which controls the reservoir to the north, released water from the reservoir only once, days before Irene. During the peak of Irene’s wrath, the levels in the reservoir began to recede, but that message wasn’t delivered to residents, prompting rapid evacuations.
[COVE playersize=”512×288″ startseconds=”82″ endseconds=”600″ episodemediaid=”2119614309″]
NJToday reports that United Water, which controls the Boonton Reservoir to the north, released water from the reservoir only once, days before Irene. During the peak of Irene’s wrath, the levels in the reservoir began to recede, but that message wasn’t delivered to residents, prompting rapid evacuations. Video courtesy of NJTV.
In parts of New Jersey and New York that were declared disaster areas after Irene, FEMA is working quickly to inspect homes and businesses for damage, and deciding who is eligible for grants and loans. If you need assistance from FEMA, you can call 1800-621-3362 or visit their website.
FEMA has already setup two disaster emergency relief centers, one in Paterson, N.J. and the other in White Plains, N.Y., and plans to open more centers in New Jersey, reported the Journal News.
On Tuesday, the Senate approved a measure to spend $5 million buying out homeowners along the Passaic River, whose houses are no longer livable. The bill states that all property purchased by the government must be used for public space, reported the Record.
Meanwhile, battle lines are being drawn between House Democrats and Republican and G.O.P. leadership. House Majority leader Eric Cantor has called for Congress to offset any disaster relief from Irene with cuts to other federal spending costs, meaning that before new relief funding is approved.
Cantor has received heavy opposition from a surprising group — the newest members of his own party. Many freshman House Republicans, who campaigned on heavily pro-spending cut platforms, but whose districts happen to be affected by Irene, now find themselves in a difficult position, reported the New York Times.
Republican Michael Grimm, from Staten Island, for instance, said delaying disaster relief funding in order to first cut costs would be a major mistake.