Tester, Baucus push FEMA for immediate disaster assistance to help Montanans recover from flooding
Senators back Montana’s request on behalf of 12 counties, three Indian reservations
(U.S. SENATE) – Senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus are calling on FEMA to quickly provide federal disaster assistance to Montanans affected by May and June’s historic flooding.
In calling for prompt action, Tester and Baucus highlighted the severity and widespread nature of the damage caused by the spring storms. Some areas in central and eastern Montana received up to six times their normal amount of rainfall for the time period.
“This amount of rain has devastated many roads and bridges and has had major impacts on rural populations,” Tester and Baucus wrote FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. “The impacts of this flooding have been devastating and far exceed the ability of our state and local governments to pay for such damages. Federal resources are urgently needed to help our communities get back on their feet.”
Governor Bullock formally requested federal assistance earlier this week on behalf of 12 Montana counties and three Indian reservations. The request for public assistance will help local governments recover and rebuild critical infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and rural water systems.
“Montana families and small businesses cannot afford any unnecessary red tape,” Tester and Baucus wrote. “We ask that you approve the state of Montana’s request as soon as possible and provide local communities with clear and transparent channels for accessing resources.”
In their letter to Fugate, Tester and Baucus – who successfully secured federal disaster assistance last year in the wake of the devastating Ash Creek Fire – note the extensive damage to rural towns’ transportation and water systems.
Damage to road systems in the twelve counties is estimated at $2.8 million. Additionally, the drinking water system’s intake at the Fort Peck Reservation has failed because of flood water, and Rocky Boy’s Reservation has lost access to potable water because of damage to a section of a water line.
The State of Montana requested public assistance for Blaine, Chouteau, Custer, Dawson, Fergus, Garfield, Hill, McCone, Musselshell, Petroleum, Rosebud, and Valley Counties, as well as Rocky Boy’s, Fort Peck and Fort Belknap Indian Reservations.