Casey Urges President Obama to Expand Scope of Pre-Landfall Disaster Declaration for PA

Pre-Landfall Disaster Declaration Does Not Cover Some of State’s Critical Needs- Senator Asks for Emergency Protective Measures and Debris Removal to Be Included

Washington DC- Today U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) urged President Obama to expand the scope of the pre-landfall disaster declaration for Pennsylvania.

Earlier this week, the Administration approved a pre-landfall disaster declaration for the state. While the pre-landfall disaster declaration provided crucial resources to the state, the devastation from Hurricane Sandy has resulted in the need to ensure that additional services are available. Specifically, amending the pre-landfall disaster declaration to include emergency protective services and debris removal would be a major help to the Commonwealth. This addition to the declaration would allow the state to receive additional direct resources and aid to move forward on the recovery effort.

“Across the state people are dealing with the aftermath of this terrible storm, and it’s critical we get these additional resources to our emergency officials right away,” Casey said. “Recovering from Sandy will take time, but providing additional services to the Commonwealth will help to accelerate recovery efforts.”  

The full text of Casey’s letter can be seen below:

October 30, 2012

President Barack Obama

The White House
Dear Mr. President:

I write to request that you include emergency protective measures and debris removal as part of the pre-landfall disaster declaration issued yesterday for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. As you know, the Commonwealth's original request for an emergency declaration included a request for reimbursement for all emergency protective measures. The declaration of emergency, however, provided only for direct federal assistance. 

Hurricane Sandy has had a devastating impact on the mid-Atlantic. When Pennsylvania made its request for assistance, the Commonwealth was predicted be the central point for the convergence of Hurricane Sandy with other weather systems. This convergence was expected to, and did, create a storm of historic magnitude. 

Pennsylvania responded to the evident urgency of the situation by taking all available measures to prepare for impact and protect the lives and property of the citizens of the Commonwealth. In accordance with responsible and smart disaster management, Pennsylvania procured and pre-staged supplies, equipment, and response teams where it appeared they would be most needed. These measures taken in preparation for the storm, which are eligible expenses under the Stafford Act, may not be reimbursed by the Federal government in the event that Pennsylvania does not qualify for a major disaster declaration. 

Hurricane Sandy has had serious consequences across the Commonwealth. There are more than one million people who remain without power. Pennsylvania plans to open shelters in West Chester for residents from New Jersey and in Stroudsburg for people from New York. Moreover, Pennsylvania has provided a rescue team requested by FEMA in New Jersey. Due to the extensive impact of the storm, the significant damages within the Commonwealth, and the necessity of taking extraordinary measures to prepare for this unprecedented and dangerous weather event, I would respectfully ask that you give every consideration to this request.

I am confident that federal government will continue to support the states as we move forward with the difficult process of recovery, and I thank you for your leadership during this devastating disaster. 

Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator
cc: Mr. William Craig Fugate, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency