Vermont Delegation Seeks Disaster Aid

The Vermont Congressional Delegation (Sen. Patrick Leahy, Sen. BernieSanders, and Rep. Peter Welch) Wednesday night asked President Bush fora disaster declaration to make Vermont eligible for federal disasterrelief after last week's Nor'easter. The Delegation timed the letter tobuttress Gov. Jim Douglas' request to the President for a disasterdeclaration. The text of the Delegation's letter to President Bushfollows, below (a pdf attachment of the actual letter will momentarilybe sent separately):April 25, 2007The Honorable George W. BushThe President of the United States1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NWWashington, DC 20500Dear 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 torecover from a recent severe storm. Federal funding is particularlyneeded for cleanup and recovery to public property, as well as hazardmitigation.Last week, a Nor'easter moved through the state, bringing fierce windsand heavy precipitation. Trees, hundreds of years old, fell onpower-lines, homes, and businesses. There has been major flooding inthe southern portion of the state, and large sections of southernVermont counties remained without power for days. Well over 15,000power outages were reported.After the emergency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)established a field office in Rutland. Representatives from the agencyvisited several of the affected areas, and the damage assessmentdetermined that well over $2 million in damage occurred across thestate. Among the seven counties in the State that likely qualify forpublic assistance -- including Windham, Windsor, Bennington, Rutland,Caledonia, Essex, and Orange Counties -- Windham County alone had damagewell over $1 million. As the specific needs of communities becomeclearer the cleanup funding promises only to increase. It is one of the greatest responsibilities of the federal government to ensure that our state and local governments can cleanup after a naturaldisaster.Sincerely,PATRICK LEAHY, United States Senator
BERNARD SANDERS, United States Senator
PETER WELCH, United States Representative