Washington DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced that he has written a letter to the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Craig Fugate, urging him to approve the state’s request for a disaster declaration across 14 Pennsylvania counties: Allegheny, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Crawford, Fayette, Huntingdon, Jefferson, Lackawanna, Lawrence, Schuylkill, Venango, Washington and Wayne. The request comes after severe flooding and storms damaged parts of Pennsylvania in August.
“I’m urging FEMA to expeditiously approve the state’s request so impacted Pennsylvanians can begin the rebuilding process,” Senator Casey. “We’ve had severe storms all too often this summer and it’s critical that FEMA provide the appropriate aid to allow communities to move forward following these severe weather events.”
The full text of Casey’s letter can be seen below:
September 11, 2013
Mr. W. Craig Fugate
Federal Emergency Management Agency
500 C Street, SW
Washington, DC 20472
Dear Administrator Fugate:
I write in strong support of the appeal made by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for a major disaster declaration as a result of the damage caused by widespread flooding, high winds, multiple tornado touchdowns, and severe thunderstorms that began when a large storm system moved through the Commonwealth beginning on June 26, 2013. Fourteen of the Commonwealth’s sixty-seven counties were severely affected, and several more saw extensive damages. The Commonwealth suffered nearly $20 million in damages as result of this severe weather system. A major disaster declaration will allow the Commonwealth to get the resources it needs to provide relief to those that are still struggling in the aftermath of this severe weather.
I understand that FEMA has said that damage was the result of two separate storm systems and therefore not eligible for a disaster declaration. However, findings from the National Weather Service and U.S. Small Business Administration contradict this, and say that the event was part of one storm system. FEMA has granted disaster declarations seven times this year for areas that have experienced severe weather that lasted over two weeks. I urge you to take the Commonwealth’s appeal under serious consideration and grant the request for a major disaster declaration.
I respectfully request you to expedite your consideration of this appeal and keep me apprised of any new developments. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me directly or have your staff contact Jack Groarke on my staff at 202-224-2844. Thank you for your attention to this request.
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator