Delegation announces $8.7 million in Irene recovery assistance for Vermont farmers and property owners

WASHINGTON, DC, (WEDNESDAY, Jan. 18) - Vermont's congressional delegation - Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) - today announced that Vermont will receive nearly $8.7 million for two flood relief programs integral to helping Vermont farmers and property owners recover from Tropical Storm Irene.

Vermont will receive $6,300,000 for the Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP) and $2,325,000 for the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP). Both programs are administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).  

EWP assists property owners whose homes are threatened by flooded rivers, helping to stabilize stream banks and protect foundations and houses from further flood damage. EWP also provides resources for clearing log jams that threaten property and public infrastructure. ECP provides emergency funding and technical assistance for farmers to rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disasters

Leahy said, "These USDA programs address recovery needs available from no other federal source, and there was a long waiting list after Irene.  I was proud to work with other members of the Appropriations Committee to include funds for these vital programs, and I am pleased that USDA staff in Vermont moved promptly to implement the program after the floods."

Sanders said, "I am very pleased that Secretary Vilsack has acted quickly to award a significant allocation of these much-needed federal disaster funds to help the hundreds of Vermont farmers whose fields were damaged by Tropical Storm Irene, and to help many other property owners across the state whose properties are threatened by unstable stream banks."

Welch, who made funding of these programs a top priority in the House, said, "Tropical Storm Irene severely damaged hundreds of farms and permanently altered the landscape for countless property owners. As Vermonters work to get back on their feet, these funds will provide a much-needed boost."