Senator Jay Rockefeller today voted for a disaster relief package which will help the many states, including West Virginia, impacted by Hurricane Sandy this fall.
Rockefeller pushed for the bill to include provisions that would give West Virginia more flexibility and access to federal funding to help the state recover from losses as a result of Hurricane Sandy, the "derecho" storm during the summer, and other natural disasters in 2012. And now, the bill includes several provisions that could help West Virginia.
"West Virginians experienced especially hard times this year with so many natural disasters and storms that surely tested our resilience," said Rockefeller. "But during and after each of these tough times, West Virginians came together to help each other -- just as we always do. With this bill, Congress is also helping, and I pushed to make sure there are specific funds available that could help West Virginia as it continues to recover."
The Senate bill now includes some provisions aimed at helping West Virginia recover from past storms and respond to future ones:
* Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) -- The disaster relief package includes significant funding for CDBGs which is a flexible program that provides communities with resources to address a wide range of unique community development needs. The Senate bill includes a special provision that requires a minimum award for all states impacted by Hurricane Sandy, which includes West Virginia. The bill also includes $100 million to address the unmet needs of small, economically distressed areas that were hit by declared disasters in 2011 or 2012. This funding could help West Virginia recover not just from Hurricane Sandy, but also from the many other storms and disasters that impacted the state over the past two years.
* Mitigation Funds -- The bill includes more flexibility when examining projects which could help more projects receive mitigation funds. As a result, West Virginia could access more federal funding for generators in hospitals and other public facilities across the state. These funds are meant to help lessen the impact of disasters on communities.
Rockefeller specifically made sure the Senate Appropriations Committee was aware of West Virginia's needs and of letters that the Governor sent to the Administration and Congressional leaders outlining the state's requests for assistance.
On December 5, Rockefeller submitted an official statement for the record to the Senate Appropriations Committee urging colleagues to include federal assistance to help communities and families in West Virginia as the chamber considered disaster relief legislation.