FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 6, 2006
Schumer Calls On State To Appeal FEMA Decision That Leaves Out Upstate New York Counties
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today called on Governor George Pataki to appeal the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) decision to exclude several Upstate New York Counties need federal aid. The Governor has to appeal this decision in order for FEMA to consider aid for these counties.
“It is not acceptable that counties that need the federal government’s help were left off the list,” Schumer said. “I am asking the Governor to appeal this decision, and I will pressure FEMA to give these communities aid. I traveled through flooded regions last week, and these communities need federal dollars now. We need to quickly assist every community in every way possible.”
Schumer’s letter to the Governor follows:
July 6, 2006
The Honorable George E. Pataki
Albany, NY 12224
Dear Governor Pataki:
I write to urge you to act quickly to appeal the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) denial of assistance to many of the counties which you declared to be a State Disaster Emergency after the floods of June 2006. I have been contacted by countless constituents and county legislators who are in desperate need of FEMA assistance, and appealing this decision will help secure federal funding for counties that are still under FEMA consideration.
I strongly encourage that you appeal for FEMA’s approval of Public Assistance funding, which would reimburse communities for debris removal, emergency response efforts and restoration of public infrastructure, for Oneida, Orange, Schoharie, and Tioga Counties. Though Schoharie County has reported over one million dollars in Public Assistance damages, and Tioga County has claimed over five hundred thousand dollars in damage to sewage treatment and computer systems alone, neither of these counties has been allocated any Public Assistance funding.
FEMA is currently debating whether Cortland County should receive Public Assistance and Individual Assistance, which would help citizens who suffered losses, through programs such as the Individual and Households Programs. I encourage you to send all relevant information on the status of the county’s damage and repair needs to FEMA so that it may rightly conclude that the county is in need of funding in both categories. In the event that FEMA determines that Cortland County should not receive funding in both categories, I ask that you quickly appeal that decision as well.
In addition, I ask that you declare Fulton County to be a State Emergency Disaster, and appeal for Public Assistance and Individual Assistance funding from FEMA for this region. While the extensive damage to Fulton County was not immediately known, field assessments this week by FEMA and the State Emergency Management Office have shown that it has suffered over $900 thousand dollars in Public Assistance damage, and several hundred thousand dollars in Individual Assistance damage.
As the storms tore though the region, inundated drainage systems caused sewage to overflow, businesses as well as homes were flooded, streets were damaged, beaches severely eroded, and bridges collapsed. Residents and businesses recognize that summertime in Upstate New York often brings damaging storms; however, it this episode was especially severe. These counties will face extensive repair and restoration costs and the state and local governments can not afford to bear the financial burdens alone.
Thank you for your consideration of my request. I strongly urge you and your representatives from the State Emergency Management Organization (SEMO) to make a strong case for assistance to the neglected storm-torn New York communities. I am sure you will agree that given the multiple financial demands these communities face, they deserve to be reimbursed as quickly as possible. Thank you for your attention to this important matter.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senate