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Letter to President Obama

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

In a letter sent today to President Obama, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Patty Murray (D-WA) urged swift approval of a major disaster declaration for parts of Northeast Washington in the wake of severe July storm damage. The major disaster declaration was requested by Governor Christine Gregoire on September 7th for Ferry County, Okanogan County and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation.

On July 20, 2012, a severe thunderstorm hit the region, resulting in flash flooding and significant damage to residential and commercial property. Strong winds of up to 90 miles-per-hour knocked out power and phone service and a damaged storm sewer system prevented local access to clean water for several days. The storm significantly impacted timber, resulting in a $1 million loss for the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and a $2 million loss for the Colville Tribe. One person was also killed in Ferry County as a result of the storm.

"There are significant amounts of debris, damage to homes, businesses, and vehicles, in addition to several injuries and one fatality," the senators wrote in the letter sent today to President Obama, referring to the impacted areas in Northeast Washington. "Our state government, counties and local communities are continuing to provide a strong disaster response through coordination of municipalities on all levels. We respectfully request your swift approval of this request for a major disaster declaration for Ferry County, Okanogan County, and the Colville Reservation."

Full text of the letter sent today follows.

September 18, 2012

President Barack Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

We write to urge you to approve the major disaster declaration requested by Governor Christine Gregoire on September 7, 2012, for Ferry County, Okanogan County, and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation in Washington State.

On July 20, 2012, these areas experienced a severe thunderstorm that included heavy rain, large hail, and winds up to 90 miles per hour. The storm resulted in flash flooding that damaged the storm sewer system and created a large sinkhole, and severe wind uprooted hundreds of trees, downed 200 power poles and damaged 40 miles of power lines. There are significant amounts of debris, damage to homes, businesses, and vehicles, in addition to several injuries and one fatality. Power, phone service, cellular service, and local access to clean water were unavailable in these areas for several days.

Timber in region, which constitutes a significant portion of the local economy, was greatly damaged as result of this storm. The Colville Tribe has lost $2 million worth of contract-ready timber and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources estimates a loss of $1 million to its contract-ready timber.

Our state government, counties and local communities are continuing to provide a strong disaster response through coordination of municipalities on all levels. We respectfully request your swift approval of this request for a major disaster declaration for Ferry County, Okanogan County, and the Colville Reservation.

Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Senator Maria Cantwell

Senator Patty Murray


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