Federal disaster declaration request denied

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today announced that the President has denied his appeal for a federal disaster declaration that would have brought critical financial assistance to nine counties impacted by a crippling snowstorm in March.

“At this point, we have exhausted our options for filing an appeal through the Federal Emergency Management Agency,” Governor Wolf said. “It’s unfortunate that the President didn’t grant our request for a declaration, and the citizens of northeast Pennsylvania will be the ones to suffer the financial impact of this decision.”

The governor made the initial request for a disaster declaration in May and filed an appeal earlier this month in order to provide federal funding to local, county and state governments, as well as certain eligible non-profits in Bradford, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Susquehanna, Wyoming, Northumberland, Pike, Wayne and Montour counties through the Public Assistance program.

According to the letter signed by Acting FEMA Administrator Robert J. Fenton, “After a thorough review of all the information contained in your initial request and appeal, we reaffirm our original findings that the impact from this event is not of the severity and magnitude that warrants a major disaster declaration. Therefore, I must inform you that your appeal for a major disaster declaration is denied.”

In his letter filing the appeal, Governor Wolf cited: decreased revenues at the state and county levels; hazardous road conditions due to record or near-record snowfalls; excessive costs for plowing, hauling and disposing the crippling amounts of snow from the storm; major challenges to first responders in supporting basic and event-related emergency services as well as disaster response needs at the municipal and county level; and mobilization of a variety of local and volunteer resources to address public safety and emergency needs of citizens.

A federal disaster declaration for Public Assistance would provide reimbursement of up to 75% of the costs incurred on eligible expenses for the eligible 48-hour time period.

SOURCE: Governor’s Press Office