Congress/FEMA recalculation nets LA $390MDec 2nd, 2011 | By William Dilella | Category: top story
A Congressional Delegation’s work has made it so Louisiana is now eligible for $389 million in additional hazard mitigation funds through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Sen. Mary L. Landrieu (D-La), who chairs the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, praised the announcement.
“I was proud to lead our delegation in efforts to push FEMA to recalculate the hazard mitigation money we are due,” Landrieu said. “FEMA has decided to take our advice and recalculate hazard mitigation funding. That allows FEMA to correct [funding] at this higher level.”
Initially, Louisiana received around $1.4 billion for hazard mitigation—as a result of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
The funding, according to the senator, was based on a calculation of 7.5-percent of FEMA’s total estimated costs for response and recovery operations. Those calculations were performed some 18 months after these disasters, which is typical and usually does cover the total cost.
However, widespread destruction lead to underestimates of the actual damage.
Landrieu said that accurate figures were not immediately available 18 months after and that the full extent of the damage was not known until years later.
The State wrote to FEMA in April of this year requesting the organization recalculate those figures.
As a result, Landrieu stated that is was necessary that Congress create an arbitration panel to continue talks about mitigation funding.
It is clear now that FEMA is responsible for an additional $390 million in funding. Louisiana is set to receive $350 million of that funding.
That money will be part of a flexible funding pot, which can be spent on any construction, civil improvements or precautionary measures that will harden or prepare Plaquemines Parish for any future storms.
This will also continue the Gulf parishes recovery from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, said Sen. Landrieu.
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the final legislation in September.
“It was right to conduct a recalculation of the original amount, which shortchanged Louisiana and our ongoing recovery efforts,” Landrieu said. “This funding is a great victory for Louisianians and I will continue to work to ensure our state receives critical funding to rebuild and recover.”
“I’ve also commented,” Landrieu continued, “that this should be spent in the parishes hardest hit.”
Which the senator noted, Plaquemines was on that short list.
Hazard mitigation funds can be used by property owners to elevate or retrofit homes with storm shutters or hurricane-proof windows and by local government officials to repair levees, public buildings or improve drainage for their localities.
“Anything the parishes think will harden them from storms in the future,” Landrieu said.