U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Congressmen John Shimkus (R-IL) and Jerry Costello (D-IL) today welcomed the announcement of a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Declaration for Saline County, which will allow residents and businesses in the region severely impacted by severe storms and tornadoes three weeks ago to receive SBA grants. These grants provide assistance to homeowners, renters, businesses to repair or replace disaster damaged real estate, personal property, machinery, equipment, inventory and business assets. The designation also includes the counties that surround Saline including Gallatin and Williamson Counties.
"We are pleased to hear that the Small Business Administration has issued a disaster declaration for Saline County and the surrounding communities that were impacted by the devastating storms and tornadoes just three weeks ago," the members said. "This declaration will give residents and business owners critical access to low interest loans and other funding sources that will help them rebuild. We are committed to ensuring that these communities are able to recover fully, and will continue to working with the State of Illinois to identifying other opportunities for federal assistance."
Earlier today, Durbin, Kirk, Shimkus, and Costello were joined by the entire Illinois Congressional Delegation sending a letter supporting the State of Illinois' request to President Obama asking him to issue a SBA Disaster Declaration for Saline County.
Members signing on to the letter of support include Representatives Judy Biggert (R-IL), Danny Davis (D-IL), Robert Dold (R-IL), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Randy Hultgren (R-IL), Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL), Tim Johnson (R-IL), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Dan Lipinski (D-IL), Don Manzullo (R-IL), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Peter Roskam (R-IL), Bobby Rush (D-IL), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Bobby Schilling (R-IL) Aaron Schock (R-IL), and Joe Walsh (R-IL).
[Text of the letter below]
March 22, 2012
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
Washington, D. C.
Dear Mr. President:
We write to support Illinois Governor Pat Quinn's request for a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Declaration for Saline County, Illinois, as a result of severe storms and tornadoes occurring on February 29, 2012, through March 2, 2012.
On February 29, severe storms and tornadoes tore through the southern part of our state. High winds caused damage to homes in Randolph and Union counties. Around 5 o'clock in the morning, an EF4 tornado touched down in the City of Harrisburg in Saline County and an EF3 tornado touched down in the Village of Ridgway in Gallatin County. Sadly, seven people in Harrisburg lost their lives as a result of the tornado. Severe damage occurred along the entire tornado path.
Preliminary damage assessments indicate that damage was done to homes, businesses, buildings, trees, utility poles, electrical service, and transportation routes in these counties. The economic impact on the community as a result of businesses being destroyed is severe and the demand for state and local government resources for emergency response, debris removal, and the repair of public property is extraordinary. Taking care of the needs of the people is of utmost importance. The Governor seeks timely federal assistance from the SBA.
Governor Quinn has determined that this incident is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the state and local governments. Supplementary federal assistance is necessary. We respectfully request that you issue an SBA Disaster Declaration for Saline County and we request that the SBA disaster loans be offered to eligible individuals and businesses in the counties that are contiguous to Saline County.
We thank you in advance for your timely consideration of this important request and stand ready to assist in any way appropriate.