[Below is the text of the letter sent Friday to President Bush by the Vermont Congressional Delegation - Sen. Patrick Leahy, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Rep. Peter Welch - to request prompt declaration of an emergency in Vermont, to make the state and several communities eligible for federal disaster aid, in the wake of the recent series of severe summer storms:]
July 20, 2007
The Honorable George W. Bush
The President of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
We write to ask that you declare an emergency for the state of Vermont, which will make the state eligible for federal funds necessary to recover from a recent series of severe summer storms. Federal funding will allow the affected communities to rebuild the public infrastructure lost during the storms and assist residents and businesses piece their lives back together.
Last week's severe thunder storms and rains dumped as much as 6 inches of rain in a short period of time, flooding streets, washing out roads and knocking down trees and limbs. In Barre, Vermont, a large section of the city's downtown was flooded with as much as 5 feet of water. Following the flooding, it was discovered that at least 1600 feet of the city's sewer line had been washed away.
State emergency management officials have been touring the state during the past several days, and damage estimates already have reached $3 to $4 million. Many more villages and towns have yet to be assessed, and delaying the declaration could result in undue hardship for small communities already suffering from the disastrous storms. Towns in several counties were struck by the storms, including Washington County, Windsor County and Orange County.
It is one of the greatest responsibilities of the federal government to ensure that our state and local governments can clean up after a natural disaster. Please inform us if there is anything we can do to expedite the declaration process.
PATRICK LEAHY BERNIE SANDERS PETER WELCH
United States Senator United States Senator United States Representative