Senator Warren, Colleagues Call on President Trump to Prioritize Disaster Relief Efforts for Puerto Rican Islands of Vieques and Culebra
Senators Urge White House Not to Neglect the Islands and to Carefully Monitor the Vieques Superfund Site
Washington, DC - United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) today called on President Trump to step up disaster recovery efforts on the Puerto Rican islands of Vieques and Culebra after the islands were devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) also joined the letter to President Trump.
Citing in their letter the remoteness of the islands and reports that residents have been "without running water, power, gasoline or communications for more than a week," the senators wrote to President Trump to request that sufficient aid and relief personnel be sent to the islands as soon as possible.
"The residents of Vieques and Culebra are U.S. citizens, and no fellow citizen should be left ‘clamoring for help,'" wrote the senators. "They need help now, and we urge that you provide them with sufficient aid and assistance without further delay."
The Senators also expressed concern about the superfund site on Vieques and the potential health risks posed by the heavy metals and toxic chemicals left on the island after decades of military exercises by the U.S. Navy. "We share the concern of residents that the hazardous waste may further contaminate the island and water supplies, and ultimately threaten the health of local residents," the senators wrote. "Additionally, the superfund site contains unexploded bombs and live ammunition that could be washed into the sea, posing long-term health and safety risks."
Last week, Senator Warren joined her Senate colleagues in urging President Trump to take immediate action in response to the crisis in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and called on him to use his authority under the Defense Production Act to more swiftly respond to the disaster. She also wrote to Republican leadership requesting that Congress be allowed to promptly take up legislation to provide the necessary aid to the U.S. citizens living on the islands. Senator Warren has previously joined in calling for President Trump to waive the local cost-sharing requirement for the hurricane response in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and for the federal government to fully cover recovery expenses, noting the challenging fiscal situation and extensive damage in both jurisdictions in calling for the waiver.
The full text of the letter can be found here.
Next Article Previous Article