Governor Wolf Vows to Immediately Appeal FEMA Denial of Western PA Disaster Declaration Request

July 11, 2018

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Wolf issued the following statement in response to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s denial of his request for a major disaster declaration for damages from western Pennsylvania’s February through April severe weather that included flooding and landslides:

“It’s extremely disappointing that the federal government chose to ignore the string of severe storms across much of western Pennsylvania, the severity and magnitude of which stretched our commonwealth resources well beyond their limits, causing stress on local budgets, too. We will appeal this decision immediately.

“Federal assistance exists to help after state and local resources are overextended and that was most definitely the case for this continuous stretch of unprecedented weather events in western Pennsylvania in late winter and early spring.

“FEMA chose to look at this continuous string of severe weather as separate incidents, none of which it reported met the threshold for a declaration, but the agency ignored the fact that these weather events were relentless, with damage and costs escalating with each subsequent storm, the total of which devastated much of Allegheny and Westmoreland counties.”

The total costs associated with the request, which was sent in late June, was $22 million.

A major disaster declaration through the Federal Emergency Management Agency provides federal funding to local, county and state governments, as well as certain eligible non-profits in those counties through the Public Assistance program. Applicants can be reimbursed up to 75 percent of the costs incurred on eligible expenses, which can include but are not limited to: payroll, contracts, repairs to damaged or destroyed infrastructure, equipment rentals and materials.

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