FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 13, 2006
Schumer Pledges Federal Aid For WNY After Snow Storm
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today spoke with Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and Niagara County Manager Greg Lewis to promise any available federal aid.
I will fight tooth and nail to get federal aid here, and get it here fast," said Senator Schumer.
Schumer's office has also been in touch with its federal elected partners to coordinate efforts to promptly access federal aid. Currently, the cities and counties are making initial estimates for Erie and Niagara. Once Governor Pataki declares the region a disaster area, President Bush can make his declaration and then Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance will activated.
FEMA could be able to provide Public Assistance, including help to restore infrastructure, reimbursement for snow and debris removal, snow plows, and overtime costs for public employees who are working on account of the storm. Schumer’s office has been in touch with the Red Cross, who has opened 3 shelters so far in Albion High School, Holley Elementary and Medina Middle School. Schumer is also working with the Small Business Administration (SBA), the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Red Cross to make sure Erie and Niagara Counties are receiving all the tools and resources they need immediately.
“Even for Buffalo, this storm was a shock in its earliness and intensity. When it comes to snow and ice, Buffalonians are tough, but they will still need all available assistance from the federal government and others to restore power, clear out trees and get back to business A-S-A-P. That is why I am urging Director Paulison of FEMA to do anything and everything needed to help New York as soon as possible. I will make sure they move quickly and effectively to assist Buffalo and Erie and Niagara Counties, once the State’s expected aid request is received.
I expect Public Assistance will become available soon, which is aid to the public entities for reimbursement for emergency services and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged public facilities like roads, bridges and water facilities. The bottom line is that FEMA must help these snow covered communities deal with the immediate and long term impacts of this devastating early snow. I will keep FEMA’s feet to the fire, every step of the way, to make sure they do just that. I will also work to get other federal agencies to deliver resources to snow covered communities, including USDA assistance for farmers and SBA assistance for small businesses,” Senator Schumer added.