NH DELEGATION URGES WHITE HOUSE TO INCREASE REIMBURSEMENT TO NEW HAMPSHIRE FOR ICE STORM COSTS
(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senators Judd Gregg and Jeanne Shaheen and Representatives Carol Shea-Porter and Paul Hodes today joined in support of Governor Lynch’s appeal to President Barack Obama and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to increase the federal cost-share allocation for costs incurred during the December 2008 ice storm.
“As the snow begins to melt in New Hampshire, we are reminded of the remaining damage to many communities throughout our state from the severe and overlapping weather events including tornadoes and historic ice storms,” stated the delegation. “We urge the President to reconsider the Governor's request to increase the federal share of public disaster assistance from 75% to 100% for the December ice storm in order to prevent further strain on town and city budgets during these difficult economic times. Waiving the state and local share of recovery costs would go a long way to ensure that communities are able to fully repair the damages from the storm and get back on their feet.”
The 2008 ice storm left some New Hampshire homes and businesses without power for more than two weeks, during which time the state experienced two additional major snow storms. On March 16, Governor Lynch wrote to FEMA appealing a decision rejecting a cost-share adjustment. Under federal law, FEMA is authorized to increase the federal cost-share allocation above 75% if extenuating circumstances exist.
The full text of the letter follows:
March 19, 2009
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20528
Dear Mr. President:
We are writing in support of New Hampshire Governor John Lynch’s March 16, 2009 appeal for a cost-share adjustment in the wake of the December 11, 2008 ice storm (DR-1812) and severe weather that followed. This storm was unprecedented in nature, leaving hundreds of thousands of businesses and households without power and crippling infrastructure across the state for days. Some homes and businesses were without power for more than two weeks, a period in which New Hampshire experienced two additional major snow storms.
New Hampshire has endured six other major disasters in the last four years, greatly exacerbating the need for federal assistance. Since four of those disasters occurred within months of the ice storm, communities that are already struggling with dwindling budgets have been left to cope with the additional strain these repeated disasters have caused. We strongly believe that the frequency of these recurrent disasters warrants an increase in the federal cost-share to help assist with ongoing recovery efforts.
The state and municipalities have been repeatedly tested to the limit over the course of the last several years. Increased federal assistance, as authorized under the Stafford Act, is critical to our state and municipalities. We stand in unified support of the Governor’s request and appreciate your giving this appeal every possible consideration.
U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Judd Gregg
U.S. Representatives Carol Shea-Porter and Paul Hodes