Smith issues statement on federal approval of flood disaster aid

HARRISBURG – House Speaker Sam Smith (R-Jefferson/Indiana/Armstrong) issued the following statement after learning today that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved disaster aid for several counties, including Jefferson, impacted by the June 27 flood.

The federal funds will provide reimbursement to local, state and county agencies for costs associated with response and recovery efforts that are continuing after the flood.

“This is excellent news for Jefferson County,” Smith said. “The devastating effects of the June 27 flood are still being felt in our communities as renovations and infrastructure repairs continue. I am most grateful that the governor’s appeal for these funds was successful as they are sorely needed here at home. I want to thank the municipal officials, local emergency management coordinators, fire departments, county personnel and some of the private, non-profit organizations that took the time to document the costs that were incurred. Without this effort, the appeal would not have been successful.”

Smith noted that the release of this funding will not be impacted by the federal government shut-down. “In talking with the director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, Glenn Cannon, he assured me there will be no delay in its release.”

Following FEMA’s denial of the state’s original request for this funding, Governor Corbett appealed the decision arguing that Allegheny, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Crawford, Fayette, Huntingdon, Jefferson, Lackawanna, Lawrence, Schuylkill, Venango, Washington and Wayne Counties were part of the same period of severe storms in late June and through July. He argued that federal aid was appropriate because these counties together exceeded the $17.4 million threshold in costs and damages.