HARRISBURG – The House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee this week approved a resolution sponsored by Rep. Clint Owlett (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter) to help ensure fairness in federal disaster assistance eligibility.
House Resolution 179
calls on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to update its per capita impact indicator and thresholds to ensure all citizens and communities impacted by natural disasters are treated fairly.
“When Tropical Storm Fred wreaked havoc in Tioga County and across the border in Steuben County, NY, last fall, it caused millions of dollars in damages,” Owlett said. “FEMA approved disaster recovery assistance in New York, but not here in Pennsylvania. It’s unfair and has only served to prolong the devastation our communities experienced.
“Severe storms and flooding don’t recognize state or municipal boundaries,” he continued. “They threaten lives and livelihoods in communities of all shapes, sizes and locations. The people, businesses and local officials who are impacted deserve equal access to recovery assistance.”
Watch Rep. Owlett’s comments to the committee prior to the vote
House Resolution 179 affirms the FEMA public assistance program would provide financial support for municipalities following the issuance of a presidential declared disaster and encourages the updating of the per capita amounts on an annual basis in accordance with overall cost adjustments and any population changes. In addition, FEMA thresholds should also consider the severity and magnitude of the natural disaster in addition to the obligations of the local, state and federal agencies.
The measure now goes to the House for consideration.
Representative Clint Owlett
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Patricia Hippler