North Jersey GOP lawmakers call for Gov. Murphy to declare a state of emergency as power outages linger

TRENTON, N.J. –With tens of thousands of North Jersey residents and businesses still without power following last week’s nor’easter, Assemblyman Anthony M. Bucco sent a letter to Gov. Phil Murphy asking him to declare a state of emergency.  Assemblymen Kevin Rooney, Parker Space and Christopher DePhillips also called for Murphy to declare a state of emergency. Another storm is forecast to hit the state Wednesday.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency in four New York counties, where about 136,500 people were still without power Sunday afternoon. Pennsylvania’s governor activated the National Guard while Virginia and Maryland declared states of emergency on Friday. 

“It is my understanding that there are still about 90,000 residents without power even as crews work around-the-clock to clear snapped trees and power lines from clogged roadways,” Bucco wrote (R-Morris). “The state needs to do something now to help our communities get back on their feet and protect our residents.”

Utility companies say that power won’t be restored in some areas until Tuesday or Wednesday night.  Additionally, the National Weather Service has issued a coastal flood warning and a hazardous weather outlook, saying another coastal storm is expected to impact the state Tuesday night and Wednesday.

“Declaring a state of emergency opens up sources of funding. This can significantly impact municipal budgets which are due to come out in the next two to four weeks, “said Rooney (R-Bergen). “As a former mayor I know how much they need help and they need it now. The governor needs to be reactive. This is not effective leadership.”

The storm left more than 300,000 New Jerseyans without power at the storm’s height. The bulk of the outages are in Morris, Sussex, Hunterdon and Warren counties.

“Like most of my neighbors, the lights in my business remain off and my wife said she’s sitting in a dark, cold office,” said Space (R-Sussex), owner of Space Farms Zoo and Museum. “How long do we have to wait until Gov. Murphy takes action? At least three governors have declared states of emergencies; Murphy just tweets.”

“In light of the recent damage to our region caused by Winter Storm Riley’s strong winds, and in anticipation of heavy snowfall later this week, I join my colleagues in urging Gov. Murphy to declare a state of emergency so that we have the necessary resources to respond to those in need of immediate assistance,´ said DePhillips (R- Bergen).