Press Release

Schumer, Gillibrand Urge President & FEMA To Approve Emergency Declaration For Southern Tier, Capital Region, Central NY, Catskills Counties

Sep 8, 2011

Today, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten E. Gillibrand called on President Obama to approve New York State’s request and declare a federal state of emergency for Albany, Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Delaware, Greene, Herkimer, Montgomery, Oneida, Orange, Otsego, Putnam, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Schoharie, Sullivan, Tioga, Tompkins and Ulster Counties in light of the severe flooding following recent rainstorms. In their letter to the President, the Senators said that severe flooding that could rival or even surpass that which hit in 2006 clearly warrants this designation, and that the federal government needs to be involved in immediate efforts to save lives and property, and contain the damage from the flooding.

“Potentially unprecedented flooding is going to cause severe damage throughout the Southern Tier, Catskills, Capital Region, Hudson Valley and Central New York,” said Schumer and Gillibrand. “These counties deserve federal emergency resources as quickly as possible so that they can prevent injuries and property damage, and help minimize further flooding. We strongly urge the President to grant this designation and approve New York State’s request as quickly as possible, so that federal emergency crews and equipment will get to these communities in time to prevent further damage.”

A federal state of emergency declaration would allow FEMA to initiate emergency protective measures in Upstate New York for the purpose of saving lives, protecting public health and safety, and preventing damage to public and private property. Specifically, a state of emergency declaration signed by the President would allow FEMA to assist with: warning devices (barricades, signs, and announcements), search and rescue efforts, construction of levees, shelters and emergency care centers, and providing of food, water, ice and other essential needs, among other things.  

A copy of Senator Schumer and Gillibrand’s letter to President Barack Obama appears below:

September 8, 2011

The Honorable Barack H. Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

The Honorable W. Craig Fugate
Federal Emergency Management Agency
US Department of Homeland Security
500 C Street, SW
Washington, DC 20472

Dear President Obama and Administrator Fugate:

Thank you for approving New York’s August 30, 2011 recent request for a major disaster declaration (DR-4020) in response to Tropical Storm Irene. This declaration will provide much needed federal aid to many counties, enabling public entities to fund the repair, restoration, and reconstruction of public facilities and infrastructure, and will help homeowners and renters to find safe housing.

As you know, though, New York was hit again by the remnants of Hurricane Lee, which struck the Gulf Coast, and Hurricane Katia. Reports indicate that throughout Broome County water levels are expected to crest at or above the historic levels seen in 2006. In fact, local officials have announced that 20,000 of the individuals throughout Broome County are in evacuation zones. As a result of the overflow of ravines and creeks, counties like Oneida and Herkimer have seen homes and businesses flooded like never before. Furthermore, there have been emergency evacuations in Greene, Schoharie, and Montgomery counties.

Given these dire circumstances, we write today to support an emergency disaster declaration for Albany, Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Delaware, Greene, Herkimer, Montgomery, Oneida, Orange, Otsego, Putnam, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Schoharie, Sullivan, Tioga, Tompkins and Ulster counties.

Thank you for your consideration of this important request. Please contact Grant Kerr at 202-224-6542 or Kevin Fink at 202-224-4451 if you have questions or need additional information.