Press Release

Schumer, Gillibrand: Fallen Trees And Branches Greatly Slowing Power Restoration Efforts – Announce Expert Federal Teams Are On Their Way To New York To Help Clear Roads And Power Transmission Lines

Nov 2, 2012

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten E. Gillibrand today announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has provided the Army Corps of Engineers with $10 million to provide expert teams to help clear major debris standing in the way of restoring power in New York.  Hurricane Sandy caused downed trees and broken limbs throughout busy roadways and these debris have created an obstacle for utility workers working to restore power to devastated areas.   With this funding, the Army Corps will mobilize contractors that will clear debris in the right of way of the utilities doing work to restore power.   The teams will greatly speed up power restoration efforts on Long Island, New York City, and Westchester.

“We need to get the lights on for those families sitting in the dark worried about how long their generator will last, for first responders driving around on darkened streets, and for gas stations so they can once again start to serve motorists,” said Schumer.  “The recovery experts from the Army  will be on the ground shortly, helping the utility worker on Long Island get the power back on as fast as humanly possible.”

“Long Island has taken some of the very worst of the storm, leaving a majority of families and businesses in the dark without power and badly damaged homes and roads,” said Gillibrand. “These federal resources are one step in the right direction to begin to clear roadways, restore power, and rebuild stronger than ever in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. I will continue to work with Senator Schumer and fight for the federal funds that our Long Island communities need and deserve.”

Hurricane Sandy created a large number of power outages throughout New York State. On Long Island, over 500,000 LIPA customers are still without power and over 700,000 Consolidated Edison customers, in New York City, have been without power.

In cases where debris and damage exceeds local and state capabilities, FEMA can assign the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers a mission to provide debris management assistance. Types of debris include: trees, limbs, shingles, bricks and wood.  The Corps will coordinate with LIPA to remove large trees and other debris that is preventing utility crews from restoring downed power lines and fixing transformers across Long Island.

Schumer and Gillibrand today announced that FEMA has assigned the Army Corps to conduct “debris clearance for utilities” in New York and will receive $10 million to complete this mission. The mission allows the Army Corps to provide contractors, equipment and supplies to clear debris that is in the right of way of the utility workers trying to restore power. These are through pre-placed contracts and teams will be mobilized in the next 48 hours. Schumer and Gillibrand are hopeful that with these debris clearing teams, utility workers will have greater access to power lines and will be able to restore power much more quickly for New Yorkers.