Obama signs declaration for FEMA disaster relief - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Obama signs declaration for FEMA disaster relief, Jindal wants more

By: Matt Rist

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - President Obama signed an emergency disaster declaration which will allow Louisiana to use federal aid to help with local response efforts to Tropical Storm Isaac.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says the authorization will coordinate relief efforts and provide federal funds for local emergency and relief efforts. FEMA says the measure authorizes the use of "equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency."

Gerard M. Stolar will be the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal emergency response operations in the affected area.

The aid will be available immediately beginning Monday.

Following the President's announcement, Governor Bobby Jindal sent a letter to the federal government requesting a full disaster declaration for the state. Jindal says the limited declaration does not provide for reimbursement of expenses that the state is taking to prepare for the storm.

Below is the Governor's letter to the federal government:

August 27, 2012

The Honorable Barack Obama

President of the United States

The White House

Washington, D. C.

Through: Mr. Tony Robinson

Regional Administrator

FEMA Region VI

800 North Loop 288

Denton, TX 76209-3698

Dear Mr. President:

I have received your approval of a limited federal declaration of emergency for Tropical Storm Isaac for the State of Louisiana. We appreciate your response to our request and your approval. However, the State's original request for federal assistance dated August 26, 2012 included a request for reimbursement for all emergency protective measures. The federal declaration of emergency only provides for direct federal assistance.

In a release issued by the White House today, it said "the declaration builds on resources already deployed by FEMA and makes Federal funding available for certain emergency activities undertaken by the state to prepare for and respond to the storm." Unfortunately, your limited declaration does not provide for reimbursement of expenses that the state is taking to prepare for the storm.

As of 5 p.m. Central time today, the National Weather Service forecasts this storm to strengthen to a Category 2 hurricane and squarely impact the State of Louisiana. The increased urgency of the situation necessitates that we re-emphasize the request for full federal assistance for the State.

The projected path of the storm has continued to shift westward and now threatens the entire State of Louisiana. The rapidity of the path's westward movement has increased the potential impact of this storm from a slight chance of affecting southeastern Louisiana to now threatening the entire state. The speed with which this threat developed has necessitated extraordinary emergency protective measures at the State and local government level.

Since the State of Louisiana is faced with a rapidly developing situation that threatens a large percentage of our population, please consider the following developments as a supplement to the request submitted yesterday.

At this time 34 parishes have declared a state of emergency:

Acadia, Allen, Ascension, Assumption, Avoyelles, Cameron, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Franklin, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Lafourche, Livingston, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Orleans, Ouachita, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupee, Rapides, St Bernard, St Charles, St Helena, St James, St John, St Martin, St Mary, St Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, Washington, West Baton Rouge.

We request that you expand the designations to include all of these parishes. We expect more parishes to declare a state of emergency.

There are currently 9 areas covered by mandatory evacuation orders:

Jefferson – Grand Isle

Jefferson –Town of Jean Lafitte

Jefferson – Crown Pointe

Jefferson – Barataria

Lafourche – Low lying parishes

Plaquemines – From Braithwaite to White Ditch on the East Bank

Plaquemines – From Ironton South to Venice

St Charles – Parish Wide Evacuation

Tangipahoa – Town of Winnsboro, Lee's Landing, and low-lying areas

As of this morning, I have activated 4,126 Louisiana National Guardsmen, an emergency contract for over 300 commercial buses, and over 5,000 shelter spaces to respond to the wide ranging projected path of this storm, move our citizens out of harm's way and provide them with shelter. The school districts in the path of the storm have cancelled school until this dangerous storm passes.

All of these actions are appropriate and necessary responses to the threat of this storm. While Tropical Storm Isaac has yet to strike the state, it has necessitated significant amounts of State and local government expenditures. The State's expenditures for emergency protective measures are already approximately $8,000,000 and exceed the State of Louisiana's threshold when making a request for a major disaster declaration.

Given the extraordinary developments of this storm and its approaching impact on the State of Louisiana, I ask that you exercise your discretion to approve the State's pending request for all emergency protective measures. Further, I ask that you consider a cost-share adjustment to eliminate the State's non-federal share of the costs for this event. When threatened with extraordinary disasters, states depend upon the availability of the full spectrum of assistance available under the Stafford Act.

Finally, a core responsibility of the federal government is to protect the lives and property of its citizens when threatened. This disaster declaration will help ensure that we best protect life and property in our state.


Bobby Jindal


To keep up with FEMA's emergency response measures, follow their blog at blog.gema.gov or check their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/fema.

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