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Letter to W. Craig Fugate, Administrator of Federal Emergency Management Agency - Expedite Recovery Efforts in Southwest Minnesota After Winter Storm

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar, Al Franken and Representative Tim Walz today called for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to expedite recovery efforts in southwest Minnesota. In a letter to FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, the delegation urged FEMA to coordinate with state and local officials to speed up completion of the storm damage response efforts and requested that FEMA staff work with local communities on the ground as they work to recover. Klobuchar, Franken and Walz, along with Governor Dayton, were in the region last week to survey the storm damage and meet with local officials about recovery efforts.

"We saw firsthand the damage caused by this storm when we toured the region," the members said. "After a disaster strikes Minnesota, we hit the ground running and do not stop until we have the resources in place to ensure that communities can recover. We will continue to push for all available assistance at the federal level until the recovery is complete."

At the time the delegation visited the region, state and local officials on the ground predicted that the damage to public infrastructure was so significant that it would exceed Minnesota's damage threshold of $7.26 million for requesting a Major Disaster declaration, as well as exceed the state and local governments' abilities to fund the recovery without federal assistance.

A full text of the letter is below:

April 24, 2013]

The Honorable W. Craig Fugate
Administrator
Federal Emergency Management Agency
500 C Street SW
Washington, D.C. 20472

Dear Administrator Fugate:

We write to ask that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) expedite coordinated response and recovery efforts with the State of Minnesota and local governments as they work to recover from a strong storm that caused extensive damage to infrastructure in southwest Minnesota. We also ask that FEMA staff on the ground in Minnesota coordinate closely with local communities as they manage through the complex disaster recovery process.

We saw firsthand the damage caused by this storm when we toured the region along with Governor Dayton just days after the event. At that time, it was acknowledged by state and local officials on the ground that the cost of the damage to public infrastructure would exceed Minnesota's damage threshold of $7.26 million related to requesting a Major Disaster declaration, as well as exceed the state and local governments' abilities to fund the recovery without federal assistance. It is important that the preliminary damage assessment process is expected to be complete today, because the State of Minnesota can now analyze these damage reports and identify additional actions that can be taken to assist with southwest Minnesota's recovery.

In addition, the Minnesota Legislature will need to take action to provide the state's share of the cost of the recovery. Currently, the Legislature is expected to meet through May 20, 2013. Advancing the disaster recovery process quickly will prevent the need for a costly special session of the Legislature to be called.

After a disaster strikes Minnesota, we hit the ground running and do not stop until we have the resources in place to ensure that communities can recover. We will continue to push for all available assistance at the federal level until the recovery is complete.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter facing our constituents.

Sincerely,


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