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September 16, 2011

 The Honorable Barack Obama
The President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500

 

Dear Mr. President:

We are writing to ask for the expedited review and consideration of the State of Texas’ request that Federal Disaster Declaration (FEMA-4029-DR-TX) be amended and expanded, so that additional counties receive support for debris removal and rebuilding through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Individual Assistance (IA) and Public Assistance programs as a result of the most recent wildfires.  In many areas of Texas the scope and severity of these devastating blazes has exceeded state and local capabilities to respond and recover.   

In the past seven days, the Texas Forest Service has responded to more than 145 fires which have scorched in excess of 17,000 acres.  It is currently estimated that more than 1,900 homes have been destroyed since the beginning of September, leaving a trail of debris and destruction.  These events have brought hardship to countless residents and communities of Texas that must be eased. 

We would like to commend your administration’s recent actions to make available IA to residents of six counties, but more individuals, counties and regions of the State are now in the same situation and need assistance.  In recent days, we’ve heard from constituents and local officials about the importance of the debris removal process moving forward in an expeditious manner to help cleanup efforts.  Additionally, it is vital that first responders have the financial resources to support emergency protective measures taken to save lives, protect property and maintain the public’s health and safety.  As you know, FEMA has the responsibility when a disaster exceeds the capacity of a state and locality, to deploy resources and provide assistance to a distressed area.  We ask that this be done now without delay.     

Thank you in advance for your consideration of this request.  We will continue to work with you and your administration to ensure those who have been severely affected by the fires receive the assistance they need. 

 

Sincerely,

Kay Bailey Hutchison
United States Senator

John Cornyn
United States Senator