The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) announced Friday that the agency submitted a letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) appealing the federal government’s denial of Public Assistance for several counties affected by the February winter storm.
This appeal follows months of data-gathering and assessment of damages by local and state officials.
“This final appeal to the federal government calls on FEMA to provide much-needed assistance to Texas counties impacted during the winter storm,” Texas Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd stated. “While we appreciate the federal government’s acknowledgement that Texans suffered during the winter storm, we hope FEMA recognizes the need to unlock additional resources for all Texas counties requesting assistance, ensuring all Texas communities get the support they need from the federal government.”
The FEMA Public Assistance program provides grant funding for a variety of public sector services, including debris removal (Category A), emergency protective measures (Category B), as well as permanent infrastructure work including roads and bridges (Category C), water control facilities (Category D), public buildings and equipment (Category E), utilities (Category F), and parks & recreational facilities (Category G).
The state has exceeded the federal fiscal requirements for inclusion of permanent work and debris removal under the major disaster declaration.
The following 29 counties provided additional disaster documentation to justify their need for federal aid: Aransas, Bandera, Brazoria, Brazos, Bexar, Caldwell, Calhoun, Cameron, Comal, Fayette, Galveston, Gonzales, Guadalupe, Harris, Hays, Hidalgo, Kendall,
Kleberg, Madison, McLennan, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, Travis, Trinity, Victoria, Waller, Webb, and Williamson counties.
Further, TDEM requested 16 counties with record snowfall be granted snow assistance. FEMA only approved Irion County and Taylor County for snow assistance last month.
TDEM re-requested snow assistance for the following 16 counties: Anderson, Archer, Brazos, Burleson, Falls, Freestone, Henderson, Jones, Kinney, Limestone, Milam, Reagan, Robertson, Upton, Val Verde, and Wilbarger counties.
In September, FEMA approved 44 of 254 Texas counties for all categories of Public Assistance under the major disaster declaration for the February freeze. Initially, FEMA approved only assistance for emergency protective measures (Category B) in all 254 Texas counties. Over the course of the following months, TDEM worked with local officials to gather supporting documentation and justify the need for all categories of Public Assistance. TDEM submitted additional documentation to FEMA on July 30th, requesting all categories of Public Assistance be made available statewide. Last month, FEMA determined the damage to infrastructure was not of the severity and magnitude to warrant designation for additional Public Assistance for 210 counties.
This is the final appeal by the State of Texas for federal disaster assistance following Winter Storm Uri as allowed by federal law.