Today, U.S. Senators Russ Feingold and Herb Kohl, along with U.S. Representatives Gwen Moore and Ron Kind, wrote to President Barack Obama in support of Governor Jim Doyle's appeal of FEMA's denial of individual assistance for damage caused during recent severe storms in Wisconsin. In the letter, the four members of the Wisconsin Congressional delegation cited potential public health concerns, as well as limited state resources as reasons why the individual assistance is necessary. A copy of the letter is attached and the text is as follows:
September 3, 2010
The White House
Dear Mr. President,
We write in support of the Governor's appeal of FEMA's denial of individual assistance for recent flooding and severe storms in Wisconsin. FEMA's policies call for the consideration of a wide range of factors when determining whether to award individual assistance in the wake of a major disaster, including the amount of damage, threats to public health, level of insurance coverage, assistance available from the state and local governments, previous commitments of state and local resources to undeclared disasters and the frequency of disaster events. All of these factors apply to the current situation in Wisconsin.
Many homes in Milwaukee, Grant and Waukesha counties were flooded with contaminated water. These homeowners will need assistance repairing the damage and restoring their homes to a habitable state. In addition, residents will need to replace furnaces and other appliances damaged by the waters before winter arrives. In Grant county, there are reports that wells were inundated with flood waters and may be contaminated.
Insurance coverage for this kind of damage is rare. In the absence of federal assistance, these homeowners may be unable to afford needed repairs which could lead to a situation which threatens public health.
State resources are already strained. There have been two major disasters in the state in the last three years and four disasters this year for which the state did not receive federal assistance. Currently, the only recourse for residents in these counties are state assistance and the diversion of federal assistance for Milwaukee from long-term community development. Diverting this assistance to deal with this disaster will further worsen the situation in this economically distressed area.
The people of Wisconsin have endured a great deal over the last few years. They have committed significant private and public resources to mitigate the impact of disasters and respond to past disasters. They do not have the resources to address the damage from the latest flooding on their own. We respectfully request that you promptly consider the Governor's request for reconsideration and provide individual assistance to those in need.
U.S. Senator Russell D. Feingold
U.S. Senator Herb Kohl
U.S. Representative Gwen Moore
U.S. Representative Ron Kind