NOAA Howard Lab Tour to Save Facility
Legislators and environmentalists push to keep the lab open by promoting its premier marine life research role in the state.
As a measure of highlighting its importance to New Jersey’s ecology and economy, national politicians will join with area environmentalists to tour the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s James J. Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory on Sandy Hook at 11 a.m. tomorrow, April 12.
U.S. senators Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez (both D-NJ) will join U.S. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Cindy Zipf, executive director of Clean Ocean Action, Howard’s daughter Marie and Tom Fote, legislative chair of the Jersey Coast Anglers Association on the tour of the research lab which has been on the Hook for 50 years.
The group is rallying to save the lab from being cut off from federal funding and closed, due to impending budget cuts. Federal officials have claimed that closing the lab will save $2 million a year.
The national politicians and environmentalists maintain that the lab is critical to the coastal environment and economy in the state because of all the research and educational programs conducted at and in concert with the facility.
"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," environmental activist Steve Fromm said in a previous interview. "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"
Last month, Pallone sought an increase in NOAA's funding for the lab and at an appropriations meeting in Washington, DC, sought to divert funds from elsewhere to save the Howard lab.
The Fair Haven Borough Council last month passed a resolution opposing the impending closure of the lab.
A Facebook page has been set up and is dedicated to the mission of trying to remove the closure of the Howard lab from the list of NOAHH facilities slated for closure in the 2013 budget.