Just how the Federal Emergency Management Agency decides whether to grant individual assistance money in times of crisis would be reassessed in Rep. Nick Rahall’s bill, approved now a second time by the House.
Rahall offered the original text last year in the wake of the June 29 derecho that led to massive disruption of power and caused heavy damage for individual home and business owners.
Under existing guidelines, FEMA provided only limited assistance to individuals after the horrific windstorm.
“The sensible and timely review of FEMA’s individual assistance guidelines that the House has again voted to require will help to ensure that our federal disaster assistance programs are, in fact, reaching those they are designed to help,” Rahall, D-W.Va., said Tuesday.
“Too many West Virginia residents have been left for months on end to wonder if federal assistance would be available to them after they lost paychecks, large food stores, medications and property, following the monstrous storms that we experienced last year.”
Rahall called for speedy action by the Senate and approval by the White House.
Millions of dollars in losses were tabulated in the storm that found winds gusting in excess of 80 miles per hour.
Since such losses didn’t specifically come within FEMA’s guidelines, the state’s bid for individual assistance initially was turned down. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin filed a second request and this time, four counties qualified.
Rahall said his bill calls for more flexibility and more objective criteria in ascertaining if assistance requests are granted.
Under the bill, FEMA would have one year to review, update and revise through rule-making the factors the agency considers when gauging the severity, magnitude and impact of a disaster.
Rahall’s proposal had to be offered anew, since House Republicans blocked consideration of the Senate-approved Superstorm Sandy bill when the 112th Congress ended.
“West Virginia residents suffered considerable losses from the unforgiving winds of the derecho and Sandy’s snowfalls, but because those losses didn’t fall neatly within the current FEMA guidelines, needed federal aid has been bottled up behind bureaucratic guidelines or significantly limited,” the 3rd District congressman said.
“In the true spirit of our state, neighbors helped one another in their time of need and our communities have gotten back on their feet. But those who suffered such significant losses at the hands of Mother Nature also deserve assistance from the federal relief programs that their tax dollars support.”
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Rainelle’s ‘colorful’ ex-mayor remembered
Former Rainelle Mayor Eugene “Geno” McKenzie, who died Monday, was known for his devotion to his hometown, according to those who knew him.
Fayette man indicted for failure to appear
A Fayette County man, who previously pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography charges was indicted Tuesday for allegedly failing to appear for a May 2012 sentencing hearing, announced United States Attorney Booth Goodwin.
Dog bites man; search on for would-be burglar
Fayette County Sheriff’s Department deputies are looking for a would-be burglar “with a dog bite,” Fayette Sheriff Steve Kessler said Wednesday.
Man arrested for firing into crowd
Mount Hope Police arrested a local man who allegedly fired a handgun into a crowd outside of Clinton Apartments Tuesday night.
Calendar — Thursday, June 20, 2013
Greenbrier Co. Relay for Life Friday
Relay for Life of Greenbrier County will take place on Friday at 5 p.m. at Modlin Field beside Greenbrier Valley Medical Center.
Ansted man arrested for false 911 calls
Fayette County Sheriff’s deputies arrested an 18-year-old Ansted man Tuesday following a false 911 call to the Fayette Emergency Operations Center and a foot chase.
Accident claims one
A Nicholas County man was killed in Kanawha County Monday when his vehicle left the road and struck a utility pole, Kanawha County officials reported Wednesday.
"The Road to Statehood" film to debut
“The Road to Statehood” airs Thursday night at 8 p.m. on West Virginia PBS, in commemoration of the state’s 150th birthday.
New labor panel eyeing workplace health, safety
Tragedies in West Virginia’s coal industry understandably attract voluminous news coverage, but lawmakers say other work places are hit by their share of injuries and illness, prompting a new committee to take a look at this.
Known as the Committee on Labor and Work Safety Issues, the new panel was requested by Sen. Jack Yost, D-Brooke.
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