Sen. Brown Urges FEMA to Reverse Decision Denying Disaster Declaration to Northwest Ohio

Brown Also Calls for Disaster Assistance Loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA)

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today called on the Obama Administration to provide federal assistance to Northwest Ohio counties affected by the June 5-6 tornado.

In a letter to the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA), also signed by Sen. George V. Voinovich (R-OH), Reps. Marcy Kaptur (OH-09) and Bob Latta (OH-5), Brown urged the agency to reverse its denial of a disaster declaration for Northwest Ohio. In a separate letter to Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Karen Mills, Brown requested the commitment of SBA Disaster Assistance Loans to help rebuild businesses devastated by the storm.

"The scope of the damage in Northwest Ohio clearly warrants federal assistance," Brown said. "I am going to keep working with the Governor to ensure adequate state and federal resources to rebuild Northwest Ohio. That starts with requesting a repeal of the FEMA decision. I have already asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to commit resources to the region, and today, I am asking the Small Business Administration (SBA) provide disaster assistance loans.  I stand prepared to assist the State with other federal funding opportunities."

Earlier this week, Brown sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to request the long-term commitment of resources by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the recovery efforts of several Northwest Ohio communities devastated by the June 5 tornadoes. USDA's Community Facilities Programs provide funds for the construction or repair of important community facilities for public use in rural areas - including hospitals, fire and public safety services, and other community-based initiatives.

On June 11, Brown received a briefing from emergency management officials and surveyed the damage caused to Millbury by the tornado. At a meeting at Lake Township Fire Station #2, Brown brought together community leaders with Tony Logan, State Director for USDA Rural Development. That same week, Brown, along with Voinovich, Kaptur, and Latta, sent a letter to President Obama in support of Governor Ted Strickland's request for a federal major disaster declaration for several northwest Ohio communities.

A fully copy of Brown's letter to FEMA can be found below.

June 24, 2010

The Honorable W. Craig Fugate
Federal Emergency Management Agency
500 C Street, SW
Washington, DC 20472

Dear Administrator Fugate:

The recent denial of the Governor of Ohio’s request for a disaster declaration for Northwest, Ohio was extremely disappointing.  I understand the Governor has appealed the decision with respect for public assistance.  

On the evening of June 5th and the morning of June 6th, severe storms and tornadoes ravaged Northwest Ohio. The storms killed six people in Wood County and caused extensive property damage in Wood, Fulton and Ottawa counties. The region continues to seek federal assistance to help in its recovery from this fatal storm.  I urge the Federal Emergency Management Agency act as quickly as possible in reviewing the request for assistance submitted by the State of Ohio.

It is important to place this disaster in context.  The citizens in the affected counties are not only reeling in the wake of a natural disaster, they are struggling in a local economy severely weakened by the national economic crisis.  Each day that passes brings more uncertainty for Ohioans in the affected areas.  Federal assistance would enable them to repair their communities so that their efforts to recover from the economic downturn are not compounded on a long-terms basis bv the effects of the storms and tornadoes. Local disaster relief agencies and the State of Ohio’s Emergency Management Agency are awaiting the federal government’s assistance and its ramifications before they can carry out a number of relief efforts.

I appreciate your attention to this urgent request, and hope FEMA can move with the speed that these communities require.  


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