U.S. Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Ben Cardin (both D-Md.) today applauded President Barack Obama for issuing a Declaration of Disaster for Maryland in the wake of severe storms, straight line winds and extreme heat from June 28 to July 8, 2012. Members of Maryland's Congressional Delegation praising the President's Disaster Delegation include: U.S. Representatives Steny H. Hoyer, Roscoe E. Bartlett, Elijah E. Cummings, Chris Van Hollen, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, John P. Sarbanes, Donna F. Edwards and Andy Harris.
"As members of the Maryland Congressional Delegation, we have been united throughout this process in urging the President to issue a Disaster Declaration for Maryland in the wake of such severe weather," said members of the Delegation. "We are pleased that the President recognized the full extent of the damage that was caused and that he has taken action to help communities recover."
The Disaster Declaration means that Maryland is now eligible for federal disaster recovery dollars through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), ensuring the already strained state budget is not stretched any thinner as a result of another natural disaster. In declaring that a major disaster exists in the State of Maryland, President Obama ordered Federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in areas affected by this severe weather.
Federal funding is available to state and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe weather in Calvert, Charles, Kent, Montgomery and St. Mary's Counties as well as the Independent City of Baltimore.
The text of the delegation's letter of support is as follows:
August 2, 2012
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
We are writing to express our very strong support for Governor O'Malley's July 27, 2012 request for a declaration of a major disaster for the State of Maryland as a result of the severe weather event which impacted our state beginning on June 29, 2012 and ending on July 8, 2012. The severe storms, near-hurricane force winds, and extreme heat caused extraordinary damage across the State of Maryland, exhausting state and local capabilities.
An unprecedented and unexpected storm, which we later learned was a Derecho, crossed our state June 29-June 30, 2012. It caused major destruction in its path and left over 1 million users without power in all 23 counties, Annapolis City, Baltimore City and Ocean City. This included not only private residences, but also businesses, state agencies, critical care facilities, and critical infrastructure facilities. The damage done by this storm was substantially exacerbated by extreme heat over the course of 10 straight days, including a recorded temperature in Baltimore of 104 degrees on June 29th, and temperatures of over 100 degrees July 5-8th. This combination of days-long outages and unrelenting heat posed a severe threat to the health and safety of Marylanders, causing the State to institute far-reaching measures to assist residents with basic human needs and medical support. Power was not fully restored to all customers until July 9, 2012.
Maryland and its local jurisdictions have contributed a vast amount of resources in a very short time period. Governor O'Malley took appropriate action under Maryland law, directing the execution of the State CORE Emergency Operations Plan on June 29, 2012. The Governor further declared that a State of Emergency existed within the entire state beginning June 30, 2012. As the state moves out of the initial response to the storms and into the recovery period, it has been determined that this incident is beyond the capabilities of the state and local governments. Further, the response to this event has been somewhat impeded by the fact that the state remains in a long term recovery phase from previously declared Presidential disasters Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.
The federal assistance requested will provide vital resources to the State of Maryland as it repairs critical infrastructure and mitigates further losses to the citizens of our state. We appreciate your consideration of Maryland's request, and look forward to continue working with you in this recovery.