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NOAA Lab Closure Opposition Mounts

A resolution was passed at the March 12 Fair Haven Council meeting opposing the closure of NOAA's James J. Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory.

Joining a contingent of area objectors, the Fair Haven Borough Council has cast its own "no" vote to the impending closure of the on .

At its March 12 Fair Haven council meeting, a resolution was passed officially voicing the opposition. The lab, which is an arm of the federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is one on a list of those across the United States slated for the closure due to national budget constraints.

After the resolution was passed, Fair Haven council members voiced their opinions on the matter and compared it to Fort Monmouth.

"The fact is that the people of the state of New Jersey helped fund the placement of that facility," Council President Jon Peters said. "It is absolutely outrageous that the federal government is again going to leave our community in the dark."

Another point brought up by Peters, was the fact that if the facility closes, local students will lose access to a great learning facility.

Councilman Jerome Koch had a different opinion on the matter.

"Everybody should keep in mind that the federal government is in the same position we are in," he said. "Everybody’s programs are the best and nobody wants to live without them."

A leader of the cause is activist Steve Fromm, who forwarded the following statement to Middletown Patch: 

"It is imperative that the lab remains here, because this location allows the lab to continue studies of marine resources, habitats and environment of the Mid-Atlantic Region.

"This location was recognized by Dr. Lionel Walford 50 years ago as being a unique opportunity to study the marine environment and the interaction of human encroachment.

"It provides direct access to one of the most important and urbanized coasts in the world and a direct path to habitat assessment and ecosystem based research that cannot be duplicated elsewhere.

"We have received tremendous support from Congressman Pallone and senators Lautenberg and Menendez."

Fromm added that on Tuesday, March 20, Pallone will seek an increase in NOAA's budget to fund the lab and prevent NOAA from diverting any funds to support the Sandy Hook facility, if appropriated. 

"We need support from the citizens in the entire state to ensure that Congressman Pallone's letter to the House appropriators gets support from the NJ congressional delegation," Fromm said. "We need folks to contact their NJ congressmen and ask them to cosign the letter."

There is a Facebook page dedicated to the mission of trying to remove the closure of the James J. Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory from the list of NOAHH facilities slated for closure in the 2013 budget. The page states that NOAA is planning on closing the landmark facility in order to save $2 million a year.

Check out the video on the lab above, by Steve Rogers, and tell us how you feel about it in the comments section below.


Steven Fromm March 17, 2012 at 12:52 PM
The fact is what the government saves by closing the lab will pale in comparison to what it spends to relocate the staff and equipment to two older labs neither of which is equipped to carry on the ongoing studies. Leave the newest research facility for two older ones. It'll save money just like moving Fort Monmouth did. $1.9b not $850m!
Elizabeth Ryan March 17, 2012 at 01:14 PM
I think it is always easy to say cutting saves money, but in this case it looks like they haven't thoroghly done their homework and evaluated the facts. The economic benefits to the state of NJ and the region, alone, far outweigh the current annual cost of leasing the facility. Plus, after 20 years of investment, the lease/bond will be paid off in a year and a half, and without the bond payment, renogotiated costs will most probably be much lower, or less than half of the current cost. It would be a shame to throw away the investment that NJ taxpayers have already made to an institution that has provided so much to the local community and the State.
Tom March 18, 2012 at 01:18 PM
With the proposed closing of the marine lab NPS (national park service) is going to look to make up money lost. There are plans to increase the size of the scout camp (now comprised of 4 sites for boy scouts and girl scouts), to up to 20 sites, and open it to the general public (lots of habitat to be torn down for that), and I would assume some of the gunnison folk would love that idea. Also, plans to open one of the lots (now a field) to rv camping. This will completely change the terrestrial ecology of sandy hook.
Frank Tanner July 04, 2012 at 02:33 PM
Is the video the director stated that he believed the current state of affairs as it relates to environmental pollution and the ocean is much better than it was 40 or 50 years ago. Is this guy smoking crack???? Has he been living in a cave?
Tom July 05, 2012 at 12:33 PM
Frank, if you compare the pollution levels in raritan bay, and in the new york bight in general, the waters are MUCH cleaner than they were 40-50 years ago. Are they pristine, no, but much better none-the-less.

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