Tester: Montana ‘cannot bear this burden alone'
Senator asks FEMA to support Governor’s request for presidential disaster declaration
(U.S. SENATE) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester today sent the following letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency in support of Governor Brian Schweitzer’s request for a presidential disaster declaration in response to statewide flooding.
In his letter Tester, a member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, which oversees FEMA, tells FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate that “Montana is doing all it can for its citizens, but we cannot bear this burden alone.”
“The amount needed to address the urgent and ongoing needs of Montana’s communities far exceeds the ability of our state and local governments to cover such damages,” Tester wrote. “Federal resources are urgently needed to mitigate further damage and to help our communities get back on their feet.”
Tester toured extensive flood damage last Friday with Schweitzer and on Monday visited a Red Cross shelter in Billings.
Tester’s letter to Fugate appears below.
The Honorable Craig Fugate
Federal Emergency Management Administration
500 C St., SW
Washington, DC 20472
Dear Administrator Fugate:
I write in support of the State of Montana’s request for disaster assistance in responding to the severe flooding that continues to cause extensive damage to cities, rural towns and Indian reservations throughout the state. This ongoing flooding has caused significant crop and livestock loss, as well as damage to our transportation and water infrastructure.
The impacts of this flooding are becoming more severe and at least 37 counties and five Indian reservations are now under declared flood emergencies. Having seen some of this flooding first-hand this week, I am concerned that conditions may worsen as warmer temperatures melt above-average snowpack in Montana’s higher elevations.
The amount needed to address the urgent and ongoing needs of Montana’s communities far exceeds the ability of our state and local governments to cover such damages. Montana is doing all it can for its citizens, but we cannot bear this burden alone. Federal resources are urgently needed to mitigate further damage and to help our communities get back on their feet.
Thank you very much for your urgent attention to this request.