Lance wants more counties in disaster-declaration area

WESTFIELD – U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance (R-7) has asked President Obama to include Hunterdon, Middlesex and Union counties in the state’s disaster declaration, making residents of those storm-battered areas eligible for federal assistance.

Lance also invited U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate on a tour of his  district to see first-hand the damage inflicted by Hurricane Irene.

President Obama declared New Jersey a disaster area on Wednesday afternoon, making residents and business owners in Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic, and Somerset counties eligible for federal grants and loans to cover uninsured losses.

According to Lance, the president’s declaration also said federal relief could also be provided to repair public works such as roads, pipelines and bridges in Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland and Salem counties. A spokeswoman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency said more counties could be added later for both kinds of relief.

Napolitano and Fugate visited flood-damaged areas in North Jersey late Wednesday afternoon.

Lance was scheduled today to participate in a helicopter inspection of Hurricane Irene’s flood-ravaged disaster areas with FEMA officials, the Army Corps of Engineers and federal lawmakers from the region. The tour will include viewing the coast north to the Raritan, Rahway and Passaic Rivers’ flood affected areas.

Previous coverage:

Obama declares N.J. major disaster area

Lance wants more counties in disaster-declaration area