November 9, 2012
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Obama:
I am formally requesting that your Administration harness all Federal resources to restore power to the hurricane ravaged areas of Long Island and develop a clear restoration plan and communications structure to be strictly adhered to by the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) to provide Long Island residents with the power and information they deserve and need.
While I appreciate the significant efforts made by Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Fugate, and others in your Administration, much more needs to be done immediately to restore power to hundreds of thousands of households, which have been in the dark for nearly two weeks. LIPA's power restoration efforts have been abysmal. More than 100,000 residents remain without power and this extended period has not only put the health and safety of many residents at risk, but also hinders recovery efforts and negatively impacts the economic viability of these communities.
LIPA management is clearly incapable of completing the vital task of restoring power. In this vacuum of leadership, Federal intervention is necessary. In past disasters, the Department of Energy has used its authority under Section 202(c) of the Federal Power Act to restore power to affected areas through the use of generators or other necessary means. This authority was used during Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Ike, and should similarly be used in this case due to the widespread damage and extended timeframe of the outages, especially given the frigid temperatures.
I also request that the Army Corps of Engineers increase its efforts on Long Island and provide all available assistance to expedite the completion of power restoration efforts. The Army Corps of Engineers' expertise in emergency power restoration, the provision of generators, and debris removal is vital to expeditiously addressing this situation.
I appreciate your instructions to your Administration to cut through any and all red tape and to consider all available options with respect to the response to Hurricane Sandy. In keeping with those instructions, I urge you to personally intervene to ensure that all appropriate Federal assets and authorities are fully deployed to the impacted region. As Secretary Napolitano agreed during her visit to Long Island, LIPA's delays in restoring power are unacceptable and endanger thousands of families.
I look forward to working with you, and your Administration, to ensure the health and safety of my constituents, and all residents impacted by this disaster. Thank you for your prompt action on my request.
PETER T. KING