FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 26, 2007

Schumer Announces Additional $16.1 Million In Federal Funding Coming To Aid Snowstorm Cleanup Efforts In Erie County

Federal Funds Will Be Used To Reimburse Local Governments For Debris Removal Throughout Erie County In The Aftermath Of The October Snowstorms

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has awarded four additional grants totaling $16,154,068 in federal funding to municipalities in Erie County, following this past October's devastating snowstorms. Erie County itself will receive $2,723,657.95; The Town of Amherst will receive two separate grants of $9,157,813 and $2,348,527.98; and the Town of Tonawanda will receive $1,924,024.06. All federal funds will be used to reimburse the local county and town governments for debris removal in the wake of the storm.

"This is great news all of Erie County and the Towns of Amherst and Tonawanda," Schumer said. "These unexpected early snowstorms left behind an enormous amount of debris from fallen trees and plants that has hindered local cleanup efforts. This additional aid will go a long way to help the county get back on its feet."

The federal funds will be used to reimburse Erie County, the town of Amherst and the Town of Tonawanda for the removal of debris from storm damaged trees along the County and Municipal Roads and Waterways over which they have jurisdiction. On October 15, Schumer visited Buffalo and environs immediately following the snowstorm to survey the damage. He successfully urged the President to make a Major Disaster Declaration which released millions of dollars in federal aid for storm victims. Following the storms, Schumer was in close contact with FEMA and the SBA to ensure that aid was available to those whose homes and businesses were damaged.

Through the PA Program, FEMA provides supplemental Federal disaster grant assistance for the repair, replacement, or restoration of disaster-damaged, publicly owned facilities and the facilities of certain Private Non-Profit (PNP) organizations. Under this program, FEMA defines debris removal as the clearance, removal, and/or disposal of items such as trees, sand, gravel, building components, wreckage, vehicles, and personal property. For debris removal to be eligible for Public Assistance funding, the work must be necessary to eliminate an immediate threat to lives, public health and safety; eliminate immediate threats of significant damage to improved public or private property; ensure the economic recovery of the affected community to the benefit of the community-at-large; and to mitigate the risk to life and property by removing substantially damaged structures and associated appurtenances as needed to convert property acquired through a FEMA hazard mitigation program to uses compatible with open space, recreation, or wetlands management practices.

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