As Flood Levels Rise, Tester Calls on FEMA to Support Montana Communities
Senator to FEMA Administrator: I urge you to expedite resources to assist the affected areas
(U.S. Senate) - As flood levels rise across Montana, U.S. Senator Jon Tester is leading the charge to get help to the affected areas.
In a letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Tester called on Acting Administrator Peter Gaynor to quickly provide resources and support to Montana counties that have experienced flooding this spring.
"The amount of resources required to meet the needs of our communities as they recover from the storm outstrips the ability of our State and local governments to pay for these damages," Tester wrote. "These communities urgently need federal resources in order to help them restore their infrastructure and way of life."
Montana has dealt with severe weather since February, when temperatures averaged between eight and twelve degrees below normal. This resulted in a deep snowpack and swift runoff, leading to widespread flooding that damaged roads, culverts, and private residences across the state. With temperatures rising and rain in the forecast, flooding is expected to worsen in the coming weeks.
On May 9, Governor Steve Bullock requested a major disaster be declared for the State of Montana in order to get federal assistance in dealing with the damage. Tester's letter calls for those resources to be expedited to the affected counties, including Daniels, Lake, McCone, Park, Powder River, Stillwater, Treasure, and Valley.
"Delays in funding to these Montana counties would be extremely harmful to affected small businesses and communities," Tester wrote. "Should the President approve the Governor's request for a major disaster declaration, I ask that you consider his requests as soon as possible."
In March, Tester pushed FEMA and the U.S. Departments of Transportation, Agriculture, and Interior to provide support and resources to farmers, ranchers, local governments, and businesses impacted by the catastrophic flooding, and Tester recently secured $17 million to fix roads damaged by last spring's historic flooding.
Tester's full letter is available HERE.