Schumer, Gillibrand Urge Obama to Declare Post-Christmas Snowstorm a National Disaster

snow 0 Schumer, Gillibrand Urge Obama to Declare Post Christmas Snowstorm a National DisasterTurns out that the Snowpocalypse was even worse than anyone thought: with the estimated bill for cleanup coming to tens of millions of taxpayer dollars, Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand are imploring President Obama to approve New York State’s Disaster Declaration request and allow the city to receive federal aid.

The December storm blanketed New York City with more than twenty inches of snow, disrupting transportation and essentially shutting down the city for several days. The New York State Office of Emergency Management worked with FEMA Region II to assess the damage, and found nearly $30 million worth of damages in New York City alone for snow removal and emergency response. The groups also found that the storm will result in significant monetary damage for taxpayers unless the federal government provides financial assistance.

“This severe winter storm resulted in record snowfall and severe beach erosion,” the senators wrote in a letter addressed to Obama and Craig Fugate, Administrator at FEMA, “and federal assistance is needed immediately.”

Cuomo requested a federal disaster declaration for the storm, but the President must approve it before New York can receive resources from FEMA. If granted, the declaration would make New York eligible for funding to help cover the cost of storm cleanup.

“Federal assistance is absolutely critical to helping New York State recover,” the letter reads, “and I respectfully urge your expeditious approval of this request.”

Full letter below:

 

The Honorable W. Craig Fugate

Administrator

Federal Emergency Management Agency

Department of Homeland Security

Washington, DC 20472

 

Dear President Obama and Administrator Fugate:

 

We write today to urge the approval of New York State’s recent request for a federal disaster declaration for Bronx, Kings, Queens, New York, Richmond, Nassau, Suffolk, and Rensselaer counties for the incident period of December 26-27, 2010. This severe winter storm resulted in record snowfall and severe beach erosion, and federal assistance is needed immediately.

 

Preliminary damage assessments conducted by the New York State Office of Emergency Management and FEMA Region II indicated that the storm was severe, inflicting broad and significant impact. Specifically, these assessments noted that the statewide per capita damages were almost double of the $1.30 threshold. Initial joint damage assessments show almost $30 million for snow removal and emergency response in New York City alone.

 

On top of record snow, the affected areas were slammed by 30 to 50 mile per hour winds, creating poor visibility, large snow drifts, downed tree limbs, and beach erosion. Local and state officials tried to open the roads in Long Island and New York City, but the storm immobilized ambulances and caused major disruptions to the Long Island Rail Road, Amtrak, Port Authority Bus Terminal, and Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

 

Federal assistance is absolutely critical to helping New York State recover, and I respectfully urge your expeditious approval of this request.

 

Thank you for your consideration of this very important issue. Should you need additional information, please contact Grant Kerr at 202-224-6542 or Kevin Fink at 202-224-4451.

 

 

     Sincerely,

 

 

 

Charles E. Schumer                                                                                         Kirsten E. Gillibrand

United States Senator                                                                                     United States Senator