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FEMA denies additional aid to Texas town where fertilizer plant exploded

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This is from Fox News Politics.

How does figure the explosion does not meet the severity

and magnitude to warrant a disaster declaration? 

Could it be because Texas is a Red State?

Could it be that Governor Rick Perry told HHS to put

Obamacare where the sun does not shine?

The answer is beyond any doubt .

 

fertilizer explosion.jpg

The remains of a fertilizer plant burn after an explosion at the plant in the town of West, near Waco, Texas early April 18, 2013. The deadly explosion ripped through the fertilizer plant late on Wednesday, injuring more than 100 people, leveling dozens of homes and damaging other buildings including a school and nursing home, authorities said. (Reuters)

HOUSTON –  The Federal Emergency Management Agency is refusing to provide additional money to help rebuild the small Texas town where a deadly fertilizer plant explosion leveled numerous homes and a school, and killed 15 people.

According to a letter obtained by The Associated Press, FEMA said it reviewed the state’s appeal to help but decided that the explosion “is not of the severity and magnitude that warrants a major disaster declaration.”

FEMA already has provided millions of dollars in aid to the town of West and its residents, but the decision prevents them from getting some of the widespread assistance typically available to victims of tornadoes, hurricanes and other natural disasters.

The decision likely means less money to pay for public repairs to roads, sewer lines, pipes and a school that was destroyed.

The blast killed 10 first responders and brought national attention to the agricultural community. President Barack Obama traveled to the area to attend a memorial service for the first responders and others who died trying to help.

As of Wednesday, FEMA said the agency and the U.S. Small Business Administration had approved more than $7 million in aid and low-interest loans to West residents impacted by the blast. FEMA also is paying 75 percent of the costs of debris removal and will reimburse the state and the municipality for the initial emergency response.

FEMA denied the “major disaster declaration” both for public assistance — which would give money to the city to help rebuild — and for further individual aid, which would provide for crisis counseling and other services.

“I’m not sure what their definition of a major disaster is, but I know what I see over there and it’s pretty bleak,” West Mayor Tommy Muska said.

It’s not unusual for FEMA to turn down that level of assistance for emergencies not stemming from natural disasters. In 2010, for example, officials denied a request for millions in aid after a gas pipeline explosion that consumed a Northern California neighborhood.

Some funds would be available in West through insurance pay outs and because it believes the state or the municipality has the resources to cover the costs, among other things, agency spokesman Dan Watson said in a statement.

Individuals can still receive rental assistance and some funds for rebuilding, and the state can appeal for more public assistance but some programs for individuals will not be made available, he said.

But Muska said the rural community of 2,800 people cannot cover the costs of the repairs, and doesn’t believe that the state will provide enough money on its own. He estimated the cost of those repairs at about $57 million, including $40 million to rebuild schools that were destroyed or damaged when the West Fertilizer Co. blew up in April.

“We don’t have the money to go out and borrow the money. We don’t have the means to pay that note back,” Muska said. “There’s got to be some public assistance.”

The letter, dated June 10, is addressed to Texas Gov. Rick Perry and signed by FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate.

Perry noted in a statement that Obama attended a memorial service in April for the victims of the West blast and “stood in front of a grieving community and told them they would not be forgotten.”

“He said his administration would stand with them, ready to help,” Perry said. “We anticipate the president will hold true to his word and help us work with FEMA to ensure much-needed assistance reaches the community of West.”

The West Fertilizer Co. blew up after the plant caught fire. The cause of the fire remains unclear — and a criminal investigation is still open — but investigators say the heat of the fire destabilized tons of a potentially explosive fertilizer stored at the plant, leading to the massive blast that leveled chunks of the town. The incident highlighted how loosely regulated some chemicals are, including the ammonium nitrate that blew up, and has some critics saying the government needs to tighten its oversight of such plants.

The blast emitted a wave of energy so strong it registered as a small earthquake, knocked down people blocks away, blew out windows, left a massive 93-foot crater and curved walls of homes and buildings.

Marty Crawford, superintendent of West schools, said officials had requested the FEMA aid to help pay for structural damage. An intermediate school near the plant was destroyed, as were parts of the high school and middle school. The district expects to get tens of millions of dollars in insurance money to help pay for the repairs, but needs the FEMA funds to get the job done, he said.

Crawford believes the state could continue to push FEMA to reverse its decision, though it appears the chance of getting federal assistance is low.

“Now we’re not out of appeals, but in baseball terms, we’re probably facing a two-strike count and fouling a bunch of pitches off,” Crawford said in a phone interview. “As long as you’ve got another strike to fight with, we can hold onto hope.”

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/06/13/fema-denies-aid-to-texas-town-where-fertilizer-plant-exploded/#ixzz2W4Y28YyT

 

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Angry New Yorkers say Obama pledge to cut red tape ignored by FEMA

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This is from Fox News.

Why should Obama care about cutting FEMA red tape?

Obama knows that he has the New York votes.

What did Chris Krispy Cream Christie get for his photo op?

The same as the folks in New York nothing.

Storm-ravaged New Yorkers say President Obama’s promise to cut red tape and get them aid in the aftermath of Sandy has proven to be hot air.

Angry citizens vented at FEMA officials at a town hall meeting held by the disaster relief agency Thursday, with tempers boiling over. Some 1,000 people, many left homeless by the Oct. 29 storm, attended the meeting at Staten Island’s New Dorp High School. They were initially scheduled to submit written questions that would be picked and answered at random, but the session turned into an angry shouting match where residents booed FEMA officials and accused them of lying.

“We are the people – we are the middle class, and we are getting the finger,” said frustrated resident Scott McGrath, who personally spoke to President Obama and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo when they came to Staten Island to inspect storm damage earlier this month. “You were there when I met Obama, and I told the president … that the middle class was getting the royal finger. And he said, ‘FEMA works for me.’”

“FEMA ain’t doing nothing,” McGrath added. “They keep going around in circles.”

The storm made landfall on the coast of southern New Jersey and traveled north, leaving a swath of death, destruction and darkness. Some 125 people were killed, including 48 in New York. It’s been estimated that half of the city’s deaths occurred in Staten Island. Millions were left without power for weeks by the storm, which also caused widespread gasoline shortages.

Obama addressed the nation from FEMA headquarters in Washington on Nov. 3, promising to cut red tape and bring the full force of FEMA to hard-hit residents.

“What I told the governors and the mayors is what I’ve been saying to my team since the start of this event, and that is we don’t have any patience for bureaucracy, we don’t have any patience for red tape, and we want to make sure that we are figuring out a way to get to yes, as opposed to no, when it comes to these problems,” Obama said.

On Nov. 15, Obama came to Staten Island, where he repeated his pledge.

A top FEMA official said agency workers understand the public’s frustration, but he defended their performance in the wake of the storm.

“We have already put $700 million directly in the hands of victims,” Michael Bryne, federal coordinating officer for FEMA told FoxNews.com. “In my opinion, I think that reflects a minimum of red tape.

“In the days after, we surveyed the damage from helicopter and for every home we found completely damaged, we immediately sent a couple months’ of rent assistance before we even had inspectors on the ground,” he added.

Byrne said more help his on the way, adding that the agency has 3,000 families enrolled in its shelter program and is working with the city on providing a rapid repair program to help get people back in their homes while longer-term repairs are completed.

Thursday’s meeting was organized by Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro, many of whose constituents have been left without homes, food or clothing. The auditorium was so crowded that many people were turned away at the door. FEMA officials dutifully absorbed the gripes, took down contact information and promised to meet privately with homeowners.

But residents showed little confidence that the agency would help, and they said they’ve been left to fend for themselves.

“Our communities are helping,” said Nicole Chati, to cheers from the audience. “Red Cross comes by, rings our bell, says, ‘Come get a hot meal’ and leaves. We help each other and that’s what we want to do, but we need your support.

“These people are frustrated,” she added. “Lives were lost. My house … I can rebuild my house. My neighbor is dead.”

Aiman Youssef, who has been living in a tent since the storm hit, said he is worried about health risks.

“The air quality in this town is very bad,” he said. “We are sick. What can you do about it?”

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/11/30/staten-island-residents-vent-frustration-at-fema-other-agencies-during-town/?intcmp=trending#ixzz2Dl4Zk0Kc

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