In government shutdown, some Sandy work continues

TRENTON – As if victims of Superstorm Sandy haven’t put up with enough, now they have to endure the effects of the federal government shutdown.

Some Sandy victims still awaiting federal aid will have to keep waiting because no new money will be coming out of Washington, D.C., until the standoff is resolved that led to Tuesday’s “closed for business’’ signs being posted, Associated Press reported.

National parks closed as well today, but the health care exchange signup for the Affordable Care Act got under way as scheduled.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s $6 billion in funds for Sandy relief are being monitored, but over at Housing and Urban Development, furloughs of workers could mean grants to cities could be delayed.

However, funds already in the pipeline will allow workers to continue to take care of the business of recovery from last year’s major storm.

In other areas, Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Larry Hajna said that in the short term DEP should not be affected. 

However … “I don’t have a long-term assessment,’’ he said about how the state could be hurt if the shutdown drags out for days or weeks.

But Jeff Tittel of the N.J. Sierra Club saw storm clouds on the horizon.

The Sierra Club said that among other things, an Edison lab that conducts research on toxic chemicals closed, scheduled hearings into cleanups have been postponed, and crucial remediation work will be delayed.

“Money for Superfund sites will be lost, affecting sites all over New Jersey, including Garfield, the Passaic River cleanup, and White Chemical in Newark. Also the Environmental Protection Agency will not have enough staffing for oversight for the over 118 other toxic sites around the state,” Tittel said.

“We are one of the states that are going to be impacted more than any other state from the government shutdown and it could not happen at a worse time,” he said.