Christie, Power Company Under Fire Following Major Outages
Southern New Jersey is still recovering from a fast-moving storm with brutal winds that ravaged the area on June 23 and left 280,000 people without power. Residents and lawmakers have been extremely critical of Atlantic City Electric and at least one mayor blasted Gov. Chris Christie for a perceived lack of response.
State Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) originally wanted Christie to declare a state of emergency and is still hoping for federal aid.
"We got the 'you-know-what' kicked out of us and we keep hearing that we haven't met the threshold. There are financial thresholds that we have to meet (and) we think we have," Sweeney said.
The next possible move to encourage help from Washington D.C. is a disaster declaration. A Christie spokesperson said the governor cannot issue such a declaration. He can only request one from the federal government and state, county and local offices of emergency management continue to work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assess damage and loss in the region.
Damage and loss thresholds must be met and the formula and requirements are varied and detailed.
On Sunday, Greenwich Township Mayor George Shivery expressed his disappointment with the Christie Administration. He said communication with the governor's office was "terrible." At a June 26 press conference, Christie said that his administration was handling the situation.
"We have had all of our cabinet members, appropriate cabinet members, the head of the State Police, the head of the BPU (Board of Public Utilities) down there. FEMA has been called in by this Administration," Christie said.
The recent storm was unlike any other, according to Sweeney, who has lived in the area for 27 years. He said local and county governments helped utility crews do their jobs to speed up the process of getting power back and putting people back in their homes. He wants the federal government to reimburse the government entities for the costs.