WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) recently urged the leaders of the House Appropriations Committee to give full attention to the needs of southern West Virginia as lawmakers begin to draft a supplemental disaster relief bill to fund efforts relating to Hurricane Sandy.
“These are fiscally austere times, but we cannot shirk our moral responsibility to help regions of our country most impacted by natural disasters,” Rahall said. “I intend to keep working with state and local officials to convey the needs of our State and pushing hard to ensure West Virginia families and businesses get every Federal dollar they are entitled to under the law.”
In his letter to the Committee, Rahall noted that 2012 had been a year of unprecedented disaster-related damage in West Virginia. Both Hurricane Sandy and the summer’s derecho storm, along with two other federally declared disasters, created unique recovery needs.
Residents in the Tug Valley were affected by virtually every natural disaster that struck the Mountain State in 2012. Late-June’s derecho, in particular, knocked power out to thousands for multiple days while a triple digit heat wave gripped the area. And in response to Sandy’s devestation, Rahall, along with Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (also D-W.Va.) toured storm damage in Mingo County by helicopter in early November.
The Congressman urged the Committee to provide funding for disaster response, recovery, and mitigation through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and several other federal agencies, such as the Small Business Administration, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
He also pressed the Committee to raise the federal share for disaster programs where multiple disasters – such as Sandy and the summer derecho in West Virginia – compounded to produce an alarming financial toll on already strained state and local resources.
“Sandy cut a wide swath and didn’t discriminate when it came to her devastating impact. The Congress has an obligation to fully address Sandy’s long reach without discrimination,” Rahall said. “Tough budget times don’t need to be made worse by leaving families, businesses and local governments hanging.”
“Mother Nature has wreaked havoc upon our state in the past several months. Congress needs to act swiftly to meet the immense challenges the forces of nature summoned,” Rahall said.